6 Steps To Writing a Sermon and Preaching a message
This article is for new or developing preachers and teachers of God’s word. Whether this is the first sermon you’re writing or you’ve been doing this for a while and want to fine tune your process, I want to share with you a simple checklist for sermon development that I’ve put together from my 20+ years of preaching and teaching. (We also have a full e-course on Preaching Essentials that focuses on the Call, Character and craft of preaching, click to view course)
Let me note a couple quick things that speak to the heart and mindset of those who have the privilege of preaching the gospel and then we’ll get into a quick 6-point check list of how to develop your message.
Develop the heart of a shepherd:
For those who have the honor of communicating the truths within God’s word should do so with a full awareness of the importance of this role. The Bible says that God has called some to specifically focus on equipping the saints for the work of service. So, we’re not just out here preaching our own deal, we’re on a mission from Jesus to care for and prepare His people. Jesus said to Peter, “if you love me, feed my sheep”. Jesus intentionally brought us to point of focus that we as preachers are shepherds that see our messages as feeding, caring for and preparing those we’ve been entrusted with. You’re aren’t preaching to an audience, you’re feeding the Church, the sheep.
A few Preaching Mindsets
One of the main things I was taught as a young preacher that I’d encourage you to consider as you are preparing your message and as you take the stage to preach.
- Focus on Helping People not impressing people.
- Focus on bringing people the full truth of God’s word and not your opinion.
- Focus on how much God loves those people your preaching to and ask Him to give you the same heart.
- Focus on imparting faith into them to follow and fulfill the word.
- Always make sure you preach with action in mind. What I mean is, don’t just preach/teach for information, preach and call them to a point of action and decision. The transformation happens when they take action on God’s Word.
The Message development check-list that provides a general roadmap as you put your message together.
1. CHOOSE SCRIPTURE OR TOPIC
- Find topics through:
- Daily Bible reading and study
- Asking the Holy spirit to speak to you
- Identify an important topic to your audience
- Observing/Capturing from everyday life
- Often, God will speak to you as you go through life. Whether as a student, parent, friend, employee, etc.
2. UNLOAD YOUR SPIRIT AND MIND
- Before any other research, begin by putting everything you know and all the Holy Spirit brings to mind on that specific topic.
3. RESEARCH TOPIC (LOOK FOR CONTENT IN THESE AREAS)
- Scripture references
- How is current culture handling this topic
- Illustrations or stories
- Personal life example
- Is there a physical prop that will really clarify this message
- Humor: find a funny story or write your own
- Lyrics to a song
- Excerpt from a book
- Imagine if…
- Draw on the power of their imagination
- Modern day parables
- Movie reference/clip
4. SHAPE THE MESSAGE
- Like clay. You start with the clump and then slowly chip away until you have your masterpiece.
- This process helps you to reveal and clarify the one goal and action step you are leading them to.
- Maintain a logical progression of thought. Which means that each point or thought is clearly leading you to the end goal of your message
- Consider how this message will come across from the seat of the listener.
5. FINE TUNE
- Don’t settle for the first draft. Print it off, tweak, update, print off again
- (Repeat until done)
6. PRAY IT HOT!
- Preparation is important, but, then we step back and pray it though until the Holy Spirit has fully moved it from head-knowledge to spirit revelation.
- Our goal isn’t to just relay information, but to leave a spiritual deposit into the lives of those we are preaching to.
- People encountering Jesus is what transforms them, not our “creative” message; prayer helps us keep Jesus as the focus of our preaching.
Praying this helps and serves you as you prepare for the next time you communicate and minister the good news of God’s word. For additional preaching resources and material like this and other books and e-courses, check out preachingforward.com.