Tuesday is for Preaching
Nine to Six Months Before I Preach
- Pray through the needs of the congregation.
- Talk to elders, small group leaders, my wife, the staff of the church for their sense of the needs.
- Select a book of the Bible to address those needs.
- Read and pray through the book a number of times.
- Break the book into preaching portions.
- Plan the preaching calendar.
- Write a book chart, or an outline, or an argument (or all three if there is time), for the whole book.
- 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.
- Assemble and put in files all relevant material to the subject and passages.
- Purchase the books that will be needed.
Two Months Before I Preach
- Sit down with worship planning team and map out the flow of the worship service.
- Select or delegate to worship leader the selection of songs, hymns, and calls to worship to my worship leader/pastor.
- Determine any special media needs, special seating, etc.
- 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:
- An exegetical commentary — to get me in touch with the language and grammar
- A theological commentary — to help me understand the theological issues
- A pastoral commentary — to help me with application
- 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.