Ministry, Preaching, Prayers, and Devotions

The Importance of Sermon Preparation

My cat loves a good book!
Image: My cat reads a book of poetry. Sometimes, he helps me think of literary allusions I can weave into my preaching. Notice his pensive face as he contemplates a poem by Kipling.

A lot of people ask me how I prepare for my sermons. For me, the most important aspect of my job is my preaching. I approach each week’s sermon preparation with the outmost care and respect because when I received my call to ministry, the voice of the Lord was incredibly clear: “Be a preacher NOW.”  .

Preparing for a sermon is something holy. Every week, a congregation of people will gather on a Sunday morning in order to hear if there is a Word from the Lord. In the modern age of instant access to entertainment and instant gratification, the idea that a group of people would gather to hear a person speak for twenty minutes is almost entirely unheard of elsewhere. Imagine it: In today’s world with Netflix, Hulu, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and all the other slick sources of entertainment vying for people’s attention, how rare is it that a group of people would gather weekly just to hear someone talk?

If a congregation has fifty people and the preacher gives a fifteen minute sermon on a Sunday morning, then that means that collectively that preacher has garnered 750 minutes’ worth of undivided attention. That’s fifty (the number of parishioners) multiplied by fifteen (the length of an average homily). Even if someone nods off and falls asleep, a preacher at even a small church in a rural setting still has access to the collective consciousness of their community for approximately twelve and a half hours each week. Think of it- most bloggers/vloggers and artists would love to have a platform like that! Consider what a commercial brand would do with that much undivided attention. Such a thought is a bit disconcerting.

So, fellow preachers, what are we going to do with this gift of time? One of my colleagues would say, “Just tell them about Jesus! Give them Jesus!” While I don’t disagree with my colleague, I believe that there is a little more nuance involved in sermon preparation. Our goal as ministers is not simply to just deliver a sermon. Our call is to strive for excellence in preaching. Even if we have been preaching every Sunday in for the last fifty years, we all have something that we can learn in order to improve.

Check back tomorrow to see some the specific thoughts I wrestle with and question I ask while preparing a sermon! It is my hope that we can continue to learn and grow together as we walk the path that Christ has set before us.

Peace Be With You,

-Rev. Rebecca

P.S. What are some of your favorite preaching tips? Share them in the comment section below! Have more to say? Continue the conversation with me on Twitter at @BeckieWrites

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