Whenever I meet with a pastor or church planter, I ask them, “What are you preaching on this Sunday?” I love hearing what series other guys are doing, the creativity. Recently whenever I ask this question, I get blank stares or a response of “I’m not sure, I think I have a title.” Sometimes they aren’t even that far along.
Too many pastors allow the busyness of their lives and ministries to crowd out their sermon prep.
Here are 5 ways to make sure that you are killing yourself on Saturday night to put a sermon together.
Don’t schedule it. Many pastors do not schedule when they will work on their sermon. For me, I work on mine in the morning; it is when I am most alert and creative. I block out Monday and Tuesday mornings for this purpose and do whatever I can to protect those times so that I can give my best hours to sermon prep.
Don’t plan. Don’t worry about it. Don’t think about future series, future topics, wait. By not planning, you will make sure that you won’t find great quotes, examples, stories to use. You will also keep from being able to use videos, certain songs that will allow artists to thrive in your church. And, the less time you spend thinking about something, the less passion you will bring to a topic. The longer you think on a topic, passage, or theme, the better.
Believe that your sermon doesn’t matter. Some of these are connected, but a lot of people don’t think preaching is essential. Whether they hold that people don’t want to listen to a sermon or that they should give a lite “here’s how to make Monday better than Friday was” kind of a pep talk. Your sermon matters. The Holy Spirit likes to show up whenever we talk about Jesus and the hope we have in Him. Lives are changed through the power of opening Scripture.
Unclear on what is the most important thing you do. Too many pastors are not clear on what is the most important thing they do or what should get the majority of their time. Three things occupy the majority of my time: sermon prep, developing leaders, meeting with new people. I primarily give almost my entire week to those three things. Even when our church was smaller and we didn’t have a staff, that’s what I spent my time on, it’s what I do that adds the most value to our church. If you haven’t already, clarify how much time your sermon will get, give the best of your day to it.
Be lazy. A mentor told me, “Someone pays the price for a sermon. Either the pastor in the preparation or the church who has to listen to it.” Too many churches are paying the price instead of the pastor. Why? The pastor is lazy.