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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Movement 4: A Sermon Preparation Process

Movement 4:  Prayerfully Put It All Together

A.        The Big Picture: Prayerfully put it all together by going back through your notes and listing the most significant reflections in response to the following questions: What is the main sermon focus around which everything else will revolve? What are the most significant exegetical insights that highlight the focus? What other significant theological or personal reflections have surfaced? What imagery illumines the meaning of the text? What applications accurately flow out of the text and challenge the congregation to embody the reality of the text through their lives and community?

B.        Prayerful Pause: Spend 15-30 minutes prayerfully asking God to guide you in ordering the parts of the sermon so that it will most glorify Him, clearly communicate the sermon focus, and spiritually form believers. This is where preachers tend to rush things. We have all the parts we want to throw in the sermon, but we must remain prayerful as we consider whether or not all the parts really fit and how they should be ordered into a seamless flow. Think of the parts of the sermon as a recipe in which some ingredients must come first to prepare the way for later ingredients. Pray for guidance and wisdom on this often overlooked element in the homiletic process.

C.        Structure It: Since the hard work has been done, it’s time to have fun with the sermon parts, putting them together in a seamless flow. You should have more than enough sermon material than you will actually need. Structure the parts (i.e., exegetical insights, illustrations, applications, personal and theological reflections), including a one sentence idea for both your introduction and conclusion. Try to maintain conversation with God and keep in focus the intersection of the biblical text with its original audience, your life and your congregants’ lives throughout the process.

D.        Title It: While the title should have attention-grabbing appeal, it is even more important for the title to be a memorable reminder of the main thrust of the sermon, its focus.

E.        Manuscript It: Fill in the outline with a word for word manuscript, allowing your language to paint a picture of what it looks like for the people of God to embody the Kingdom of God. Do it as if every word choice is a devotional act of worship that comes from a heart of deep love for God and for the people to whom we preach.

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