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7 defining moments in your sermon preparation (3)

Let’s talk about a couple of unplanned moments that tend to show up quite often in the sermon preparation.

BIBLICAL PREACHING AUTOR 108/Peter_Mead 23 DE MAYO DE 2024 12:29 h
Photo: [link]Herrmann Stamm[/link], Unsplash, CC0.

Defining moments are pivotal decisions that will impact the essential nature of your sermon.

So far we have thought about getting started, and about the move from passage to message.

Now let’s add a couple of unplanned moments that tend to show up quite often in the process:


5. The moment of breaking through a log jam

Most messages are not a smooth journey from passage selection, through each sequential step, to a pulpit-ready sermon. Somewhere along the way, there tends to be a log jam and we get stuck. 

It could be the wording of the main idea. It might be a needed illustration. Or perhaps the sermon is ready, but the introduction feels bland and in need of a major overhaul.  Sometimes the whole thing might feel okay, but flat. 

You are stuck and you feel it. What can you do?  Sometimes the jam is the necessary reminder to really pray about the message – wrestling with God for some kind of breakthrough. 

Sometimes the jam needs to break you free of your computer – stand and preach it out loud, then when it seems to flow better, go back and try to capture what you said into your outline. 

Sometimes the jam will break only after you take a break – pray about it and leave the preparation for a walk, a night’s sleep, or a conversation with someone else.  I suspect new preachers will know the panic a log jam can create in your heart. 

And I suspect that seasoned preachers will know how often a log jam occurs in the preparation process, and then proves to be a defining moment.


6. The interruption or even, the attack

Maybe you have a nice predictable rhythm. Perhaps you start preparing on a certain day, then take X number of sessions to study the passage, move on to shape the message on another day, and then have X number of hours to complete the message. 

It may be nicely and neatly regimented by years of practice. But then there is the interruption. It is almost predictable. 

The washing machine breaks, the family member’s computer goes down, the phone call from the congregant in a crisis, the thing that demands several hours that you do not have to spare. It happens.

If it happens so often that you feel under-prepared every time, perhaps you need to review your standard plan for sermon preparation. Perhaps it is time to lift some stress and get further into the process sooner in the week. 

At the same time, it is good to recognize that God has used many sermons that felt under-prepared from the preacher’s perspective.

Sometimes the interruption, or even spiritual attack, is the necessary mechanism to push our dependence back onto God, where it belongs.

Do you experience variations of the log jam and the interruption? How often?

Peter Mead is mentor at Cor Deo and author of several books. He blogs at Biblical Preaching




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