A Plan for Preaching the Word Rather than Yourself

Tuesday is for Preaching

Nine to Six Months Before I Preach

  1. Pray through the needs of the congregation.
  2. Talk to elders, small group leaders, my wife, the staff of the church for their sense of the needs.
  3. Select a book of the Bible to address those needs.
  4. Read and pray through the book a number of times.
  5. Break the book into preaching portions.
  6. Plan the preaching calendar.
  7. Write a book chart, or an outline, or an argument (or all three if there is time), for the whole book.
  8. Return to the preaching calendar often to trigger ideas for illustrations, songs, dramas and hymns as well as further refinements of preaching portions and preaching calendar.
  9. Assemble and put in files all relevant material to the subject and passages.
  10. Purchase the books that will be needed.

Two Months Before I Preach

  1. Sit down with worship planning team and map out the flow of the worship service.
  2. Select or delegate to worship leader the selection of songs, hymns, and calls to worship to my worship leader/pastor.
  3. Determine any special media needs, special seating, etc.
  4. Incorporate any special elements (i.e. baptism, baby dedication, testimony, interviews, responsive readings, Lord’s Supper, Mother’s or Father’s Day, Advent, etc.)

 The Week Before I Preach

 Monday:      Mechanical Layout of the passage / Key words and phrases identified /
                        Argument and flow of the passage understood
                        (Check my files to see what I have collected over the years)

Tuesday:        Language work / Rough drafts of homiletical outline

Wednesday:   Commentaries consulted:

  1. An exegetical commentary — to get me in touch with the language and grammar
  2. A theological commentary  — to help me understand the theological issues
  3. A pastoral commentary — to help me with application
  4. A liberal (or one that keeps me in touch with liberal thinking)

Thursday:    Message manuscript or outline written. Sometimes I will preach from the
just a powerpoint outline.

Friday:         Day Off

Saturday:     Message polished and prayed over

Sunday:       Deliver message

This is what I strive for in an ideal week. It is not always possible in the week leading up to a message to do it this way, but that just underscores the need to have a plan so that you are always on top of the game. I have found that such a process gives the Spirit of God the time He needs to break through all my encrusted heart and clouded understandings of a passage so that I understand it clearly, have been raked over the coals by the Spirit related to my own application of the text, and come out on the other side ready to preach with the passion and honesty that the word of God demands of me and that the congregation needs from me.

Marty Schoenleber, Jr. is the founding pastor of one church, the interim pastor of another and the church planting trainer/mentor of over 200 other church planting pastors. He is adjunct professor of Church Planting at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and has taught Preaching at the International School of Theology, and Evangelism at Moody Graduate School of Theology. He is also the Director of the Saint John’s Pastoral Center, a pastoral care and retreat center located in a growing number of Bed and Breakfast houses across the mid-west. His latest book is Picking a President: Or Any Other Elected Official (CrossBooks, [late June 2012]). Marty also serves as Church Planting Missionary Consultant for the Great Lakes District of the Evangelical Free Church of America. To enjoy a free subscription to his blog, log-on to www.chosenrebel.wordpress.com, where you can post your comments, view past blogs in our archive and read the latest reflections on church planting, Biblical Expositions and musings about church, culture and spiritual formation. Follow Pastor Marty on twitter @1Chosenrebel4JC.

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