My Weekly Sermon Schedule

How do you prepare for preaching a sermon? 

When I was studying and being mentored by Stuart Rothberg at Istrouma Baptist in Baton Rouge, I once asked Stuart this very question. Stuart's reply supplied me with the pattern I still follow. Stuart, before giving me his schedule, provided me with a clarifying fact, "for every one hour of preaching I dedicate on average, 20 hours of study." I don't always dedicate 20 hours a week. Honestly, there are many passages that I can lean upon my PhD studies. In essence, I have already accomplished much study on many passages, thus shortening my 20 hour goal. The following is my weekly schedule. Some weeks I will accomplish the tasks late at night, or some times I'll spend the entire day on the day's task. 

Read the text, pray over the text and translate the text. My preaching style is Exegetical, thus text driven. As such, I always preach / teach through a book of the Bible. The text for the upcoming Sunday is the next portion of the Biblical book, often couched within the paricope or thought section. (I don't allow chapter breaks to hinder where I divide the text.) The first task of sermon prep for me is to pray over the text before reading. Then I read the text in my Bible translation (ESV), and sometimes in multiple English translations. Typically on Monday night, I will translate the designated section from the original Greek or Hebrew into English. The process of translation ensures that I see where the original breaks are, and how words are connected together.

Outline by Tuesday Lunch
Develop 13-word introduction and conclusion. Typically I will call the people to turn to the Bible passage, and while they are flipping in their Bibles I will catch their attention and hook them into the text via an engaging quote.
Send developed outline to church office for printing in the bulletin

Research and find coordinating verses from the Whole of Scripture. I am convinced that a proper sermon utilizes many passages to affirm the points being espoused by the preacher. I strive to quote at least 3 different passages per point of the sermon. When preaching Old Testament I will strive to find New Testament theological application verses. When preaching the New Testament I strive to find Old Testament stories to give depth to the New Testament passage.
Find quotes from believers of old (Pastors and Theologians) concerning the passage or topic at hand. As a preacher and scholar I stand on the shoulders of biblical exegetes who came before me. As such, many believers of old have provided the church quotations that cannot be restated in a better way.

Fill out sermon notes with suggested examples and hymns. Only toward the end of the week do I begin to consider illustrations. The Text of Scripture is central, and is God's word. I find that the study and search for examples becomes a self centered practice of my cleverness. Many weeks sermon illustrations and examples do not get inserted until Sunday morning. I believe that God blesses a focus upon the text and delivers illustrations via the Holy Spirit when necessary. A frequent practice is to consider hymns of old to aid as illustrations. 

Friday - Saturday: 
Meditate and reread the sermon notes

Sunday Morning: 
Complete Powerpoint
Pray over the text and sermon notes
Deliver the sermon

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