The way we do church has changed over the years since Jesus walked the earth. Sunday services have seen some radical changes in everything from music to fellowship. In preparing to preach it is important as discussed in the Oratory with purpose seminar to know the Congregation. It is strongly recommended that you schedule a conversation with your supporting Minister or Senior Elder around local issues or matters of concern for the locals.
Be informed around any special people, their issues or concerns. This can often be revealed by reviewing previous Newsletters, and just being open to the congregation. In Lay Preaching we are not there to put on a performance or some entertainment but rather as a conduit of the Holy Spirit to bring Glory and Honour to God. Preparing to preach is about more than study and imparting knowledge, its about presenting Gods message to His people within the time available. The following words from 2 Timothy have been an admonishment to many.
2 Timothy 2:14-15 Remind your people of this, and give them a solemn warning in God’s presence not to fight over words. It does no good, but only ruins the people who listen. Do your best to win full approval in God’s sight, as a worker who is not ashamed of his work, one who correctly teaches the message of God’s truth.
The “Sermon” has always been a big part of the Worship Service an often takes up a significant amount of the congregation’s time together. The study of preaching is known as homiletic’s and many churches refer to the sermon as the homily. There are many books written about how to prepare and deliver a sermon.
This page aims to give some thoughts around things which have been helpful in preparing a sermon. There are five areas for consideration.
- Rely on the power of the Holy Spirit
This is the first and most important aspect of preparing for a sermon. It is one area many of us can neglect or fall short in from time to time. If you have undertaken previous training and studied or learned the Preaching craft you will know how important it is to spend time preparing devotionally.
Sometimes we become so reliant on our own knowledge and preparation that we forget to include the most important person who can help us, namely, the Holy Spirit.
Words from Zechariah come to mind here… Zechariah 4:6 Then he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts.”
There are many ways to rely on the Holy Spirit and prayer is one that should be at the forefront of our minds. We need to read and meditate on God’s word and be in prayer. Many experienced preachers will tell you of times when they have wrestled with a passage all week and may not have had a good grasp on the text, then they ask God to speak to His people,.. the results and responses were amazing.
- Humbly Approach the Word of God
God wants us to be humble and preach His word. 1 Corinthians 2:1-5: “And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”
- Prepare your sermon with 1 main point
Some sermons have good content but fail to communicate through disorganisation and impaired delivery. Being specific in the application or main point helps the congregation to relate and understand.
A simple sermon point which is memorable and measurable will go a long way towards having the congregation ‘hear from God and give them a plan on moving forward’. When preparing a Sermon never neglect your Bible as the first and most important tool. It is God’s word to His people.
- Use the Bible
Some people behind the pulpit can get distracted and rely on outside materials to speak for the Bible.
Supplementary resources and reading can enhance a message but the Bible should be the principle resource. It is God’s word to His people. We should never loose sight of this important fact.
- Ask Questions
When we read and meditate on a passage we should ask questions. Any good journalist builds a story by asking probing questions who, what, where, when, and why…. These are significant in the practice of Biblical Exegesis.
In our preaching we explain and make words or phrases come to life in a clear unambiguous way.
There are obviously many more steps and areas of importance in sermon preparation. We are speaking the Word of the Lord to a lost and broken world. We need to be diligent in our preparation by relying on the Holy Spirit to confront and convict us about the passage.