The New Pastor’s Guide To Sermon Prep

Writing a sermon is no small task. And as a pastor, when your job entails preaching every single weekend, writing sermons can feel overwhelming. So to help you as you get in the rhythm of weekly sermon prep, here are a few steps to consider as you begin writing.

  1. Identify your key passage of Scripture. Whether you’re preaching through a specific book of the Bible or preaching a topical series, the first step you should take when it comes to sermon writing is identifying your key passage of Scripture. Everything you write needs to start and stem from the Word of God, so starting with your key verses is, well, key. 
  2. Study your key passage of Scripture. It’s not enough to just read your passage of Scripture and start writing. It’s important that you spend time studying your key verses. Using tools like Logos or other online resources, you can learn more about the context of your key verses, the surrounding verses, and other related verses. It also might be helpful to look at the original language the verse(s) were written in to make sure you get an accurate understanding of the passage before you begin interpreting it to your congregation. 
  3. Write down the main takeaway from your key Scripture passage. While it’s very common for pastors to have anywhere from two to four points in their sermon, you always want to make sure you have one main takeaway to leave your congregation with. Some people call this the bottom line. In other words, what is one sentence or phrase you want to make sure your congregation remembers and takes with them from the message after they leave church on Sunday morning?
  4. Think through personal examples you can incorporate into the sermon. Personal narratives, examples, and analogies are very popular and helpful tools when communicating to a congregation. So as you’re writing your sermon points and notes, think back on your own life and your own experiences and write out any possible stories you can share that will help your listeners apply the content of your sermon to their own lives. 
  5. Develop an outline style for your sermon. Every pastor outlines differently, so it’s important that as you are starting out in your sermon writing journey, you develop an outline style that works for you. Maybe you use color coding for your outlines. Maybe you use a traditional outline with main points and subpoints. Maybe you use a mind map. There really isn’t a wrong way to outline, as long as the structure makes sense to you and helps you as you write and memorize your content.  

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