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Partnering With God
Posted on Sep. 17, 2012 1 Comment
Someone asked me this morning if I was still writing my own sermons. The question arose because of all the material we are using in connection with The Story. It’s a good question. We have curriculum for our Bible classes and also for our Story Groups. It would make sense if they also supplied the preacher with a sermon for each week. There is a suggested sermon outline that is included with The Story. I look it over just as I read a couple of books written to help teachers and preachers with their lessons. But frankly, I’ve never been able to preach a sermon written by someone else. So yes, I am still writing my own sermons.
My basic sermon writing strategy is the same as it’s been for many years: 1) Read the Scriptures, 2) Read what others have written about the text, 3) Prayerfully ponder what I might need to say, and then 4) Write the sermon. After that my process goes something like this: 1) Rewrite part of the sermon that I don’t like anymore, 2) Complain to myself and perhaps one of my co-workers about how the sermon doesn’t seem to be coming together, 3) Rewrite some other part of the sermon, or perhaps the same part again alternating between believing the sermon will communicate well and thinking it might not, 4) Finish the sermon because it’s now Thursday and I need to get the PowerPoint together and send out the sermon to our Spanish and Deaf translators, 5) Print the finished sermon and don’t look at it again until early Sunday morning. At this point I think about the sermon all weekend but typically don’t touch it until about 6:30am Sunday morning when I go over it in detail and mark out stuff I don’t like anymore and write things in the margin that I might remember while preaching but often forget to notice. At 8:15am I meet with a prayer group and pray asking God to bless the message even if the preacher’s delivery is lame and the sermon doesn’t connect well. At 11:00 am I preach the sermon. At 11:30 I begin to ponder ways I think the sermon worked and ways I could have done better. This pondering will continue until Monday morning when I start the whole process over again for the coming Sunday.I was going to write something about the sermon on partnering with God, but instead I’ve given you a rehash of my basic sermon preparation. Come to think of it, preaching is all about partnering with God. Why God chooses to work through fallible humans like me is a question that must wait till Jesus comes. But by faith, I trust that God works through the preaching of his word, and that is what keep me going week after week after week.