When the Sermon Isn’t Coming Together

Sermon block. We’ve all faced it. Sunday is coming, you’ve got a topic, but the talking points just won’t come together. While there is no one-size-fits-all fix, we’ve got three suggestions to help you when the sermon just isn’t coming together.

Go to the Movies

This might sound like embracing procrastination at first, but bear with us. The most successful box-office hits often are so because they tell a story of truth. There are parallels to be found to the Christian journey in Hollywood.

“But let every good and true Christian understand that wherever truth may be found, it belongs to his Master.” St. Augustine of Hippo

So buy a ticket, buy some popcorn, and take note. If there aren’t any inspiring movies in theaters, revisit an old favorite – one you know tells a fabulous, compelling story. (No time for a movie? Check out our round-ups of sermon stories here and here for some quick inspiration.)

Poll the Congregation

What does your congregation want to know? Ask them! There are a lot of ways to quickly poll your members (thanks, 21st century digital age). You could throw a question out on any of the social media networks and wait for responses. You could even get fancy (and stay free!) by creating a quick Google poll that will conveniently gather responses in one spreadsheet that only you can see. Share the link in a weekly newsletter or, again, on social!

Rest & Revisit

Take a break from your current sermon and think about past sermons that you remember as being home runs. Dig out your old sermon notes and reflect on what made these sermons so memorable. It might also be a good time to compile a folder of your “homerun” sermons (either notes, videos, or both) for easy access.

Continuing Education

While we love the first two tips for a once-in-awhile weekly rut, if you find yourself stuck more and more often, it’s time to invest in some continuing education on sermon prep. Taking a course or a seminar (like our conveniently discounted UpFront program) can expand your public speaking and sermon prep skill set. A sermon-specific training or coaching program will help week-to-week as you go through it, and provide a foundational reinforcement to make your job more enriching for years to follow. Another way to think of this investment that we love is comparing the preaching profession to others – doctors, teachers, pharmacists and more all spend hours each year in mandated professional development and continued education. Shouldn’t our profession hold itself to the same high standards?

Some weeks the words flow faster than a waterfall. Other weeks, they just won’t come. Maybe you’ll take our tips and head to the movies, poll the people, or even register for some continuing education. Maybe you’ll find another way to push through (please share if you do!). Whatever the outcome, we hope you find yourselves back on track to the fulfilling process of sermon preparation.