My Sermon Prep System

The job of a church planter and pastor has a lot of moving parts, but for me, the biggest of them is my time preparing to preach.  Because of that, I have a system in place that may be helpful to you:

1.  I  stay one year ahead on series planning.  Rather than having a planning meeting once a year or a study break, I do this every month.  So in January I will plan the series that will be for the following December.

2.  I stay at least 3-5 weeks ahead on finished sermons.  I am a writer by nature, so I actually write out my sermon like I would a chapter to a book.  Once I am finished this week with the sermon for 4 weeks from now, I will not look at it again until the Monday of the week I am preaching it.

With those two things in mind here is my weekly schedule for sermon prep.

Read through the sermon and tweak where needed, based on its having sat and marinated for 3 weeks. (This is where I normally add humor.)

Whiteboard out a “basic draft” of the sermon 4 weeks from now.

Write a first draft for the sermon 4 weeks from now.

“Preach”  the first draft for the sermon 4 weeks from now to see what works and what transitions I need.

Start researching for sermon 5 and 6 weeks from now.

Tweak the sermon 4 weeks from now.

Practice this week’s sermon at least twice. (I actually stand in my office and preach full-voice to my whiteboard.)


Saturday Night around 9pm
Look at this week’s sermon one last time and make any transitional changes needed before saving it as a PDF and emailing it to myself so I can open it in Goodreader. (I email to myself because although I know there are ways I could automate this, I like having the PDF in the email as a back-up in case Goodreader crashes.)