You have more things to do this week than you can, will and should get done. The truth is, only God gets everything done on His to do list. How then can you be the most effective with your time to produce the most important priority of your week, Sunday’s sermon?
There are three things to consider when crafting your sermon preparation this week.
On Monday, after preaching, plus a full day of ministry, probably some meetings, gospel conversations, and battling the Sunday afternoon preaching hangover, most pastors are flat out exhausted. The best thing you can do on Monday is go to work. Take a day off later in the week.
Make it your goal to know by the end of the day on Monday to have accomplished these three things for your sermon preparation.
First, identify what the central theme of the text and your sermon is.
Second, be able to answer these two statements.
- From this text and message I want them to know______
- From this text and message I want them to do______
Third, have 50% of an outline put together.
As soon as these things are done, walk away. Give yourself permission to be done for the day.
Take Tuesday and Wednesdays to let the text marinate on your soul. Keep a notebook or use your phone to write down insights that may come while prayerfully meditating on the passage and central theme. Meditating on the passage will make a difference in producing the sermon and the effectiveness of the message.
Lock Yourself Away
Do not wait for the moment of inspiration to come before you write your sermon. If you do, more than likely you will be stealing from your family by writing a Saturday night special. The most effective preachers, writers and artist of history became so by locking themselves away and going to work. Hold all your phone calls, don’t check your email, and stay off of social media. Lock yourself away and work.
A couple of weeks ago I posted a sign on my study door that read, “I must get some things done today. Please do not disturb unless: a) The building is on fire, b) The Zombie Apocalypse is here or c) You want to preach on Sunday.”
I had to get some stuff done. My ideal timeline had a head on collision with reality. With a good sense of humor I was able to draw a clear boundary line. Those I work with closely and my church people understood, respected and appreciated this boundary.
If you care enough about the sheep you under-shepherd then you need to lock yourself away to spend time with the Chief Shepherd. Sermons do not write themselves. Lock yourself away and work.
There are two Sundays in a pastor’s week; the one they are getting over and the one they are getting ready for. Start early in getting ready for the next one.