What are some tips for preparing a sermon on a tight schedule?

  1. Expositional sermons take time to prepare, so you need to make time. You need to meditate on and exegete the text, understand the text’s main point and turn it into a sermon outline, carefully consider how to apply the text to your hearers’ lives, and then write a sermon. So the first thing to do is block out time in your schedule. As much as you can manage, make yourself unavailable for anything else.
  2. Meditate on the text during your daily devotions and encourage the members of your church to do the same. Use the text as a guide as you pray for the members of your church through the week.
  3. Read the text at the beginning of staff meetings and elders meetings, and then have each person praise God in prayer for something in the text. This will focus your hearts on the text and give you, the preacher, whatever initial insights your colleagues have into the text.
  4. Accept help from others. If members of your congregation are meditating on the sermon text throughout the week, ask them about it. If they consistently raise certain issues, you should address them in your preparation.
  5. Another way to accept help from others is to give up the need to discover everything yourself. If someone points out a feature of the text that lends itself to a good outline, use it.
  6. Have a conversation with a non-staff church member about applying the text. Once you’ve done your exegetical work and have the bulk of the sermon outline, sit down with an intelligent but theologically untrained church member and discuss how you can apply the text to people’s lives specifically.

(Much of this material has been adapted from Michael Lawrence’s article, “Let the Word of God Dwell in You Richly”)

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