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Model for Long-Range Sermon Planning and Preparation*

edited and posted by Bob Young
[permission is given to reprint with credit noted]

Initial Preparation Period

  • Identify a text or topic. Make a folder or way to collect information.
  • Begin primary reading from newspapers and news magazines. Look for the materials that relate to the text or topic: especially consider stories, applications, and statistics.

    Study Period

  • Make a personal inventory. Collect and list all I know about the topic.
  • Consider everything in my library about the topic or text (brainstorming).
  • What are the best resources I have available? What materials do I need to include in my study?
  • Finalize the specific text or topic -do exegetical work in the original language, make observations that are obvious and not so obvious, personalize the story so that I see real people with real emotions
  • What is eternal in the text? Avoid the temptation to deal with only the cultural or contemporary.
  • Find appropriate and relevant illustrations, in and out of Scripture.
  • Formulate the conclusions: the "take home points".

    Arrangement Period

  • How should I arrange material?
  • Does the material lend itself to a deductive or inductive approach?
  • Outline the sermon in order to serve or emphasize the dominant thoughts.
  • Discard all other material. Everything included in the sermon must serve the dominant thought.
  • Develop a clearly written declarative sentence. Make it vivid, work on the verbs.
  • Especially focus on the use of metaphor and figures of speech
  • Be aware of and use linguistic programming.
  • Develop the body of the sermon first; then determine how to introduce it and how to conclude it.

    Sharpening/Focusing Period

  • Come to know the sermon well enough to eat, breathe, drink and sleep the sermon.
  • Be open to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
  • Continue to look for applications and supporting ideas.

    Preparing the Message--Planning my Personal Message

  • Kierkegaard observed that the gospel has become a piece of information, just like the newspaper or television news.
  • How can this sermon lift the gospel beyond merely being another piece of information?
  • How should I plan a sermon or message that has already been heard? (Craddock, Overhearing the Gospel)
  • How should I plan a sermon for people who live in a world of sound bites? For people who want quick information?
  • Keep the following in mind during sermon preparation

    Preparing Myself

  • Persuasion of others involves persuading myself first
  • Oratory: the good man speaking well. Both are essential.
  • Consider source communication, perceptions of personal competence are important for effective communication.
  • The most important aspect of preaching is the credibility of the preacher with a congruent life, integrity, and truthfulness.

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    * The ideas presented here were developed from notes taken during a presentation by Dr. Prentice Meador.


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    Last updated November 25, 2010.