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Friday, December 28, 2012

Movement 3: A Sermon Preparation Process

Movement 3:  What is God saying to the congregation through the text? (Fellowship)

A.        Intercessory Reflections and Applications: Spend at least 30-60 minutes praying through the church directory and any special congregational prayer requests, incorporating the preaching text into the prayer time as often as possible. Reflect on how the text might address the joys, sorrows, hopes, hurts, sins, and dreams of people in your congregation, in particular, and of humanity, in general, and pray accordingly. Prayerfully consider how God wants to guide, comfort, or confront the church through this text. What changes might God want to initiate in your church through this text? Be careful to let God’s desires for the church, and not merely your own desires and ambitions, determine the application of the text to the congregation you serve. Don’t force the text to say more or less than it really says. List the possible sermon applications that result from this intercessory prayer time.

B.        Initiate Contact: Initiate contact, by phone call or visit, with 2-3 congregants for spiritual care and directing. If possible, select congregants whose lives may be profoundly addressed by the biblical text and sermon for the coming Sunday. Depending on the circumstances, you may not want them to know that the coming sermon applies to them. This, however, does not prevent you from offering spiritual care to them.

C.        Human Feedback: In staff meeting or in a group of friends, read the text and ask the group to reflect upon how the text might intersect with their lives. Ask them to express how the text challenges, comforts, convicts, instructs, etc. Record their reflections, but ensure anonymity. If you want to share one of their reflections in the sermon, get their permission first.

D.        Sermon Focus: You have already written out the focus of the biblical text, answering the question “What did God say to them (the original recipients).” You also reflected on the question “What is God saying to me.” Now, prayerfully consider and write out, in one sentence, the main focus of the sermon that will connect the meaning of the text with the context of your congregation. Reflect on the question “What is God saying to us (the congregation).” This is a crucial step in the homiletic process that will hold all the parts together as one whole.

E.        Imagery: What stories, images, metaphors, analogies, people, current events, songs, movies, tv shows, statistics, sports, jobs, animals, etc. might illuminate the sermon focus? Have fun brainstorming and listing everything that comes to your mind, even if it seems a bit odd at first. Some of the best imagery comes from our personal experiences and observations. Make sure the imagery does not detract from but works to illumine the Word of God.

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