sermon prep

I hate being stuck in traffic.  But it happens.  Usually when I’m on my way to something and never when I have extra time.

I hate being stuck in line at Wal-Mart.  No matter what lane I pick, I’m always behind the person fumbling through their purse to write a check.

I hate being stuck trying to accomplish a goal.  But it happens.

And if you’re a Senior Pastor or preacher, you know what it’s like to be stuck in sermon prep.

You’ve read the text and you know what it means, but you don’t have the angle.  You have a topic, but you don’t have that “word” from the Lord.

It happens.

This doesn’t (necessarily) mean you’re out of step with God or living in Laodicea.

Let me assure you, it’s normal.

All preachers get stuck.

When that happens, there are three things that might get you back on track.

1.  Think about the gospel.

In 1 Corinthians 9:16, the Apostle Paul writes “For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of; for necessity is laid upon me; yea woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel.”

Earlier in the same letter, Paul says he was determined to focus on “Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” (1 Corinthians 2:2)

While some messages are Gospel-focused, all messages should be Gospel centered. There’s a crimson thread that runs through the entire Bible.  Jesus is the hero, from Genesis to Revelation, and Jesus should influence every message you preach.

When you get stuck, think about how the passage connects with the larger story of God’s redemptive plan.

2.  Think about Twitter. 

It may sound crazy to suggest you think about social media when you should be thinking about sermon prep.  After all, that’s what may have gotten you behind the eight ball in the first place.

But hear me out.

When you get stuck crafting a message that will connect, it might be helpful to think about the one sound byte you want people to remember.

People aren’t going to remember your message, but they might remember a statement from that message.  What’s the big idea of the text?  What’s the driving force behind the passage?  Is there a compelling way you can package an idea?

3.   Think about your congregation.

As we wrestle with the text and shape it into a message, we can easily lose sight of our audience.   And while our message should start with the Scripture, it’s going to be delivered to people.

So when you get stuck, think about the people who will hear the message.  What are their hopes and fears?  What questions would they have?  What do they already think about your topic?

And ask yourself, “What do I want people to DO?”  Often, this question can provide clarity of direction for your message.

What do you do when you get stuck in sermon prep?  Leave a comment and share your ideas with others.

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