…honestly?, these tips below are helpful to me. I used to fret having to prepare for a sermon when the days are busy, and the kids noisy, and the time’s tight, and the interruptions common, and as for quietnes??, an impossibility…but what’s in fact more pressing is that, after the day has worn me out, and i have gone about doing a 1000 different things that day, I have no system of recollecting all the important truths I’ve read. I’d then go about a really lengthy way of trying to communicate the Word which isn’t totally productive, nor spiritual, nor helpful to a young parent with a young family and a full time day job…
…so the Husband has time and again blessed our church with God’s powerful messages and the way he goes about it is so simple and so practical —a saving grace for any young parents who long to be more effective with preaching and teaching the Word without tearing his/her hair apart …
Post by the Husband
I used to really struggle with preaching the word on Sundays. I would agonise for hours and days, asking the Lord “what do you want to say to the church?”. I would read random passages, only to get sidetracked by more random passages as I followed one theme to the next and then back again.
I would read pages and pages of commentaries, then stop and pray for individual church members, then pray for Australia, then forget what I was preparing.
I would then return to the bible and read more, and by the Saturday evening, would feel that I hadn’t come any closer to hearing the Lord’s voice about the message.
I’m not sure when exactly this all changed, but I came to a realisation a few years ago.
You can’t preach a message that God has not spoken to You personally first.
That may sound simplistic, but what I mean is, the message that you are sharing with the congregation must have already been spoken to You by God already.
That’s not to discount prophetic word that can come in an instant. But in my preaching, I’ve realised that the most powerful sermons I’ve preached have been the sermons that God has spoken to me first.
So now my process is much more straight forward.
I use a bible reading plan that goes through 4 parts of the bible at a time so I’m in touch with Old Testament and New Testament on most days. During the week God is speaking to me about various things through the word.
When it’s my turn to preach, the Lord will lay on my heart something that has been on my heart that past 1-2 weeks, and that becomes my message.
IT will also be clearly based on one particular passage.
I’ve moved away from topical bible studies to expository preaching on a passage.
I will then read around that passage (remembering that I’ve been reading around that passage for weeks anyway). This helps me understand the context of that passage.
I then read 2-3 commentaries for that passage and use Vines Expository Dictionary as well as strong’s concordance for key words. I have all these resources on my Bible app on my iPad and laptop. I take notes from this process to clarify my thinking.
For the Sunday sermon, I use the passage to be my prompt and preach mainly from the passage rather than from notes. I try to break the passage down to 4-5 main points.
Finally I prayerfully consider what illustrations may be appropriate and sometimes illustrations will spontaneously come. I am careful not to overuse “interesting” or “entertaining” anecdotal illustrations as these can distract from the word of God.
This process has been working for me a lot better than my previous more random approach which I thought was “more spiritual” but turns out to be rather unproductive.