OT - How do you preach?

Page 1 of 2 (24 items) 1 2 Next >
This post has 23 Replies | 5 Followers

Posts 299
Robert Mullen | Forum Activity | Posted: Sun, Jun 6 2010 1:50 PM

I am a layman but my mind has really been drawn to preaching lately. I have a question for those of you in the pulpit regularly: How do you prepare to preach? I am not talking about your research and sermon construction but more what happens after your sermon is significantly complete. How many pastors preach from outlines alone? Notes alone? Outlines and notes? Does anyone free form? I am curious how you prepare to keep your mind on track when you are in front of your congregation. I am not overly afraid of speaking but suffer the same nervousness that most folks suffer before a crowd. My voice gets a little hitch sometimes and my mind can get off track which brings the train to a screeching halt. Do any of you still suffers these things after regular preaching? Do you use tricks to recover if you wander in the pulpit? Preparation tricks to keep your focus?

I hope this is OK to ask here, I really don't know where else to ask it.

Posts 19119
Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jun 6 2010 2:03 PM

I've preached about a dozen times at my church over the past few years, so I can't claim to preach "regularly." I don't have just one method that I always use. Sometimes I read from a prepared text. Sometimes I use more sketchy notes or an outline and preach off the cuff with those before me to guide the flow of my sermon. But in all cases I try to put myself in the mindset of just having a conversation with the people in my congregation whom I know pretty well. It's a very small church -- usually no more than 40 people there on any given Sunday. I experience more anxiety in the days leading up to preaching -- stress about getting my prep done on time, a terrible case of procrastination, etc. -- than I do once I'm actually in the pulpit. My very first time preaching taught me something: that it isn't how eloquent or knowledgeable I am that makes the sermon hit home with people, it's the Holy Spirit. I actually preached a pretty lame and unfinished sermon that day, but during our time of discussion after the sermon (which is a regular built-in part of our service) other people made observations about the text and my presentation of it that fleshed out the "sermon" and in the end we all learned something. So God can use you no matter how well you preach. Of course, that's no excuse to skimp on the preparation and just get up there and "wing it" and hope the Holy Spirit gives you the right words to say on the fly. But once you've done your due diligence, you can relax and trust that if anyone is going to get anything out of it, it's going to be God's responsibility, not yours. So that can help with the nervousness.

One trick I use is to print out my manuscript (or notes or outline) in a large font, double spaced, single-sided. That helps me not lose my place in the notes. When I finish with one page, I just slide it over to the left horizontally, without bothering to flip it. I also print the document with page numbers, so that if for some reason I should drop the manuscript all over the floor while fumbling with it or walking up to the pulpit, I won't have them all out of order.

Posts 13412
Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jun 6 2010 2:08 PM

When I was first starting out I used a full manuscript. I still do that for about a third of my sermons. Another third I use a brief outline (perhaps a total of 15-20 bullet points). The final third I use something in between (a page or two of full manuscript to get me going, then reasonably full notes once I'm up to speed).

The reason I use different methods is partly because my preferred method (full manuscript) takes longer to prepare. But it's also because I find that if I only preach from full manuscript I end up sounding like I'm reading. If this makes sense, preaching from much briefer notes from time to time reminds me of what I sound like 'naturally', and I can then make my full manuscript sermons sound much more natural.

As for nerves in front of a congregation, Galatians 1:10 and 1 Thessalonians 2:4 cured me of that - though gave me lots of other worries! Then 2 Corinthians 2:14-17, 3:4-6 cured me of those worries!

Posts 2801
Kevin A. Purcell | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jun 6 2010 2:14 PM

After the sermon is "finished" I put it away and try not to think about it for at least a day. That is usually finishing on Fri. and putting it away all day Sat. Then either Sat. night or Sun. AM I go over it once organizing my slides for display. I then save it on my computer and open it on my iPad by having it saved in a Dropbox folder and then open in Dropbox app on the iPad and export to Pages on the iPad. On my iPad I take my combo outline/manuscript (I have some elements as outlined bullet points and others as manuscript paragraphs) and enlarge them to so I can see it. Sometimes I even practice it by myself. Then I go to the computer at church that displays the slides and go over it again in order to put slides in order in MediaShout. And a finally quick once through with the computer operator so he/she knows when to advance slides or play video clips.

The benefit of this is after it has been finished my brain encodes it, which I have read studies that say your brain is doing w/o you even thinking about it. Then I am going over the sermon at least three times after that point.

Posts 274
Daniel Lee | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jun 6 2010 2:23 PM

Robert Mullen:

I am a layman but my mind has really been drawn to preaching lately. I have a question for those of you in the pulpit regularly: How do you prepare to preach? I am not talking about your research and sermon construction but more what happens after your sermon is significantly complete. How many pastors preach from outlines alone? Notes alone? Outlines and notes? Does anyone free form? I am curious how you prepare to keep your mind on track when you are in front of your congregation. I am not overly afraid of speaking but suffer the same nervousness that most folks suffer before a crowd. My voice gets a little hitch sometimes and my mind can get off track which brings the train to a screeching halt. Do any of you still suffers these things after regular preaching? Do you use tricks to recover if you wander in the pulpit? Preparation tricks to keep your focus?

I don't yet have a congregation, as I just finished seminary.  But I have done a good bit of pulpit supply and preaching in other venues. 

This might fall under sermon construction, but I try to go back through and ask myself if my illustrations (are they there?) fit my audience, how to word things more clearly, and whether my examples are relevant to my audience (i.e. don't use the 'have you robbed a store' as an example of sin for church kids who probably never even considered it - use the example of yelling at your parents, or refusing to clean your room right away because you'd rather finish your game, etc).  This takes time and if I wait too close to the time I'm preaching, I don't do well at this part.

I usually preach from a bare sentence outline with a few key words/verse references under I, A, 1, a if needed to jog my memory.  Though usually a fully written out intro/conclusion  Sometimes I expand it, especially if there are key verses/points I don't want to miss.  I try to keep it to I, A, 1 or else I get too bogged down on minor points.

When I print my outline/sermon notes, I set the page to landscape, narrow margins, 2 columns, 1" gap, often 12 point font.  Then I can cut the pages in half and easily fit the notes into my bible - easier to work with.

If I wander or miss a point, like I did last week teaching 4th-6th "Jr. Church", I go back briefly, then use transitions to get back to the next point.  Transitions are essential - repeat the theme, main points, and show how they're related. Otherwise people get lost.  I don't want them to remember my outline, but if they're lost trying to follow the structure, it distracts from the main point/theme of the message.

Regarding nervousness, I minored in speech in college and I still get nervous more often than not.  I try to breathe slowly, ask God for help, and just go for it.  Sometimes I have to make myself slow down because nervousness means you talk faster.

None of the above are original to me, just things I've picked up along the way from books like Haddon Robinsons Biblical Preaching and especially the excellent Invitation to Biblical Preaching by Don Sunukjian, as well as various classes.  Hope this is helpful.

Posts 1875
Alan Macgregor | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jun 6 2010 2:44 PM

I preach about 4 to 5 times every week, preparing 3-4 messages for every Sunday, for the last eight years. Before that I only had two sermons per Sunday to prepare. Until about 6 years ago I preached from a complete script, but then I moved to bullet points and after about a year of that I moved to mind-mapping. That suits me fine, as it gives me the discipline of staying "on track" but at the same time I have the freedom to expand different points according to my congregation. That is important in the morning when I preach the "same" sermon to two quite different congregations with a 30 minute break between services for travelling the 5 miles to my second congregation.

When I first started preaching regularly, about I used to preach the sermon to my long-suffering wife, who would stop me if she couldn't follow my train of thought or a particularly cumbersome sentence. Then I was ruthless with the red pen! It was a good discipline. Nowadays, I prepare a complete service, choosing hymns as I develop the sermon during the week. I tend not to use powerpoint slides now, though I did a few years ago, as the feedback from my congregations was that they found the visuals distracting and preferred to listen.

I would say that there is no right way to prepare or preach. Just do it the way you feel comfortable. Be faithful to the Word. Just remember to keep your message tight. I have had the serious misfortune over the years to listen to several 45 minute messages which should have lasted 25 minutes! It is easy to "lose" a congregation. Then it is almost impossible to get them back.

If the Lord is calling you to preach, then remember that you are being called to the highest privilege any person can receive. My constant reminder of that is James 3:1. I am always nervous about preaching, because I want to honour my Lord in this highest of callings.

Every blessing

Alan

iMac Retina 5K, 27": 3.6GHz 8-Core Intel Core i9; 16GB RAM;MacOS 10.15.5; 1TB SSD; Logos 8

MacBook Air 13.3": 1.8GHz; 4GB RAM; MacOS 10.13.6; 256GB SSD; Logos 8

iPad Pro 32GB WiFi iOS 13.5.1

iPhone 8+ 64GB iOS 13.5.1

Posts 19119
Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jun 6 2010 2:45 PM

Mark Barnes:

As for nerves in front of a congregation, Galatians 1:10 and 1 Thessalonians 2:4 cured me of that - though gave me lots of other worries! Then 2 Corinthians 2:14-17, 3:4-6 cured me of those worries!

I worry about James 3:1.

Posts 670
Michael Lyman | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jun 6 2010 2:54 PM

I've used various methods over the years, but have now settled on a pretty simple one. My desire is to go through as much of the scripture as possible. How can you teach the whole counsel of God if it takes years to go through a gospel? I am currently going through the Gospel of John and have made it to John 11 in 10 weeks. I read the whole text of the passage I hope to cover over and over. I pray, I read up on parts I have questions or want more detail about. I have read through the bible many many times over the last 40+ years and I find less and less of a need for commentaries and detailed word study. I am very careful to look at the context of the passage and use the historical/grammatical approach. Who was the first audience, what were their needs, what was the purpose of the writing, when was it written, where was it written, when and where were the first audience and what was their historical setting. Although I love Logos, I am constantly reminded that many of the authors of scripture had no training and very little to study, but that never stops the Holy Spirit. That said, we have the whole text of scripture and are commanded to go and make disciples teaching them ALL that Jesus and His apostles and prophets commanded us. We better be sure what we are saying is true and that God has given us the gift to declare His word, otherwise we would be better serving tables as our ministry and there is certainly a legitimate need for that as well.

Acts 6:2 "Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables."

2 Timothy 3:16-4:5

"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry."

Posts 299
Robert Mullen | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jun 6 2010 4:02 PM

Rosie Perera:
I worry about James 3:1.

I teach 5th and 6th grade SS and worry about this too. Indifferent In a way I don't worry though because most of those who God has put in a position to teach really have little choice. If God is nudging you in that direction what choice do you have? 1 Corinthians 9:16 (insert teach for preach.) We all have to try and grow in Christ-likeness and just make sure we are falling at the foot of the cross when we fail.

I am not feeling an actual call to preach myself (it actually scares me quite a bit and not because of the public speaking part) but have taken a real strong curiosity to how it all comes together. I have spoken to my pastor about his methods but am curious how different people approach it. I have done a little bit of public speaking and if I completely script something it usually is apparent to the listener that it is scripted. It is also a lot harder to engage your listeners visually (eye contact) if you are reading too much. When you have an idea of where your going and the content flows naturally from your preparation and study it seems to really click. The problem for me (again not preaching but more in the bits of secular speaking I have done and some Sunday School / youth type stuff) is if I get rattled or lose the train of though it can get a little ugly and turn into a stammering mess. I have watched some folks go through this in front of our congregation and I feel for them so much. I start praying for them to get clarity and get back on track immediately so they can be settled and deliver God's word as I know they earnestly desire to.

I have a lot of respect for those of you who do preach regularly. It is definitely a 1 Cor 9:16 thing but at the same time you brave the crowd to share God's precious word to hungry ears. It is scary to me and from all I hear it is no less scary even after some time.

Posts 8967
RIP
Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jun 6 2010 4:17 PM

I'm not shy about public speaking until it comes to preaching from the pulpit. Delivering a sermon has always struck a measure of "terror" in my bosum just because I'm standing before God's people speaking on behalf of God. This was why I started with a manuscript and essential read the sermon (with lots of eye contact.) One day the unimaginable happened. A gust of air blew my sermon papers off the pulpit all the way to the floor between the first rows of pews. I didn't dare retrieve them from 20 steps away. I went on without the papers and the congregation commented it was a great improvement over the usual delivery. From that time on I have used an outline to prod my memory if I draw a "blank." The outline includes my scripture references, brief description of my illustrations, transitions, and finally the conclusion. I found my wrap up was week if I did not have it specifically noted.  Even with years of experience supply preaching in many puplits, I still have an awe of the grave responsibility it entails. It matters not how large or small the congregation, or how educated or common the people. Humility and prayer help a lot.

Logos 7 Collectors Edition

Posts 270
Stein Dahl | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jun 6 2010 4:22 PM

Robert Mullen:
I have a question for those of you in the pulpit regularly: How do you prepare to preach? I am not talking about your research and sermon construction but more what happens after your sermon is significantly complete. How many pastors preach from outlines alone? Notes alone? Outlines and notes? Does anyone free form?
Hello,

I can say that I don't preach weekly at my church, but I do preach fairly regularly (once a month or so).  Our small church has a team of different speakers that we rotate through, and I am one of them.

My method, at first, was to write out a word for word transcript of what I wanted to say.  Several times I tried using that word for word transcript, but it always came off as if I was just reading.  So, I tried several different things, and you might also have to try some things to find out what works for you.. 

  • But what I have found - that works for me - is to start with prayer, asking for God's guidance and leading in choosing the topic or passage and in the sermon preparation.
  • Then, I begin by writing a basic simple outline about the passage or topic I am going to speak on.  That's my starting point.  I take the passage or topic and (in my own words) I write a simple outline of where I feel led to go with this topic or passage (wherever scripture and the Holy Spirit leads).  So, I end up with a basic skeleton of what I want to say.  This skeleton or outline gives me the direction I need to go in.  I know where I'm starting and where I want to end up with this sermon.
  • Then I take Logos Bible Software (Passage Guide and Exegetical Guide results & research) and sift through it all - using what I find there to "put flesh on this skeleton" (outline) I started with.  In other words, using my research and my outline to guide me, I still do write out a word for word transcript of what I want to say.  Once I'm satisfied with that, I go on to the last step.
  • Last, I take my word for word transcript (which by now has been polished and filled in with my research) and I reduce it back down to what I like to call a "preaching outline" - which, to me, is a sort of detailed outline (including illustration reminders and reminders of specific details) that I can use to preach the sermon from.  I include just enough detail to jog my memory and remind me of what I want to say. 

By the time I've reach this point I know my topic or passage pretty well.  So, I just use this "preaching outline" to keep my mind on track and to remind me of the details I want to share with the congregation during delivery of the sermon. 

I find that using a "preaching outline" like this forces me to speak from the heart and memory - and not just to read everything.  Consequently the sermon comes off more like a natural discussion than a speech that you read, verbatim.  Plus, it allows you the flexibility to follow the leading of the Spirit during the sermon with things He brings to your mind that you hadn't written down.

But, remember, as Rosie noted in her post, it's the Holy Spirit that brings life to your sermon. We can make the "skeleton" (outline), and even put flesh on it but only God can actually bring it to life and use it to reach others.  If it's only us doing it, we are like a clanging symbol (just making noise and spewing hot air).

Posts 653
Alex Scott | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jun 6 2010 5:06 PM

Rosie Perera:
I worry about James 3:1.

I wouldn't worry about that Rosie.  The judgement may be more strict, but it's worth it in the long run.

Longtime Logos user (more than $30,000 in purchases) - now a second class user because I won't pay them more every month or year.

Posts 4768
RIP
Fred Chapman | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jun 6 2010 6:37 PM

Robert Mullen:
I am a layman but my mind has really been drawn to preaching lately.

It may well be that the Lord is calling you to something and that is why you have this on your mind. God did not call me to preach until I was forty years old. I cannot tell you whether he is calling you or not, but I can tell you that it scared me for a number of reasons. I was in a profession where public speaking and platform training was part of my job. What scared me sounds like it may me what you are thinking about, how do I do it? A pastor and mentor of mine gave me an opportunity to preach and afterward asked me if I thought I could be happy doing anything else. The answer did not have as much to do with my happiness as it did my peace. I had no peace and no real joy until I committed to Him and answered his call. I began guest preaching and supplying for various churches and pastors. I was later licensed and ordained by my home church

Seven years after being called, I was asked to pastor a small church. I now preach two sermons (most of the time) a week, lead a bible study on Wednesday's and teach a Sunday school class.

When I began preaching I would write out my entire sermon and preach from a transcript, trying to deliver as much from memory as possible. Then I began preaching from outlines. If you are preaching under the direction and guidance of the Lord, you will find that He often gives you things to say while in the pulpit that you had not previously thought about. Very often my sermons have content and thoughts that do not appear in the outline. You should try to stick as close to the outline as you can however. If you don;t you may find that every message goes from Genesis to Revelation and your sermons require a lunch break for the congregation.

The best advice I think I got was from the pastor who ordained me. He encouraged me continue learning through seminary, reading, etc. He also told me to try and avoid reading the bible "looking for sermons". He said to read the bible for the purpose of growing in my own relationship with Christ and the Spirit would give me the messages He wants me to prepare and deliver. I have found that to be true, and the messages tend to be more from my heart  than my head.

Follow the Lord as He leads you and remember Luke 10:2

 

Posts 299
Robert Mullen | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jun 6 2010 7:09 PM

Fred Chapman:

Robert Mullen:
I am a layman but my mind has really been drawn to preaching lately.

It may well be that the Lord is calling you to something and that is why you have this on your mind. God did not call me to preach until I was forty years old. I cannot tell you whether he is calling you or not, but I can tell you that it scared me for a number of reasons. I was in a profession where public speaking and platform training was part of my job. What scared me sounds like it may me what you are thinking about, how do I do it? A pastor and mentor of mine gave me an opportunity to preach and afterward asked me if I thought I could be happy doing anything else. The answer did not have as much to do with my happiness as it did my peace. I had no peace and no real joy until I committed to Him and answered his call. I began guest preaching and supplying for various churches and pastors. I was later licensed and ordained by my home church

Seven years after being called, I was asked to pastor a small church. I now preach two sermons (most of the time) a week, lead a bible study on Wednesday's and teach a Sunday school class.

When I began preaching I would write out my entire sermon and preach from a transcript, trying to deliver as much from memory as possible. Then I began preaching from outlines. If you are preaching under the direction and guidance of the Lord, you will find that He often gives you things to say while in the pulpit that you had not previously thought about. Very often my sermons have content and thoughts that do not appear in the outline. You should try to stick as close to the outline as you can however. If you don;t you may find that every message goes from Genesis to Revelation and your sermons require a lunch break for the congregation.

The best advice I think I got was from the pastor who ordained me. He encouraged me continue learning through seminary, reading, etc. He also told me to try and avoid reading the bible "looking for sermons". He said to read the bible for the purpose of growing in my own relationship with Christ and the Spirit would give me the messages He wants me to prepare and deliver. I have found that to be true, and the messages tend to be more from my heart  than my head.

Follow the Lord as He leads you and remember Luke 10:2

 

I am sensitive to that and have tried to sensitive to where the Lord has called me to service. One thing has led to another and while I don't hear Him shouting in my ear at the moment that I should be preaching I do think there is something stirring. It is still kind of indefinite but the Lord has been gracious in revealing to me only what I can handle at any time. Given that I want to be more sensitive to the work going on before and then in the pulpit. It is nice to pick some brains here as well since there are so many different perspectives.

God bless all...

Posts 502
Nord Zootman | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jun 6 2010 7:09 PM

I preach 3-4 different messages a week as well as teaching  a class fairly often and leading a youth group weekly during the winter. I use power-point for one of those each week and simply have the outline from my presentation with a few hand-written notations. Often I just have some notes in the margin of my Bible, sometimes a little more of an outline. I also have a printout of any quote that I might use. I feel like I have interacted with the text and have an understanding of what it says, I know the needs of my people, and I just focus on communicating God's word as it speaks to their needs.  On the rare occasion that I decide to use extensive notes I find that I concentrate too much on my notes and not enough on our people.

Posts 37
Doug Bassett | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jun 6 2010 7:52 PM

I only read a few of these responses, but there is one crucial thing missing. Being totally dependent on God the Spirit!! The day I stop being nervous about communicating God's truth is the day I should stop.

As to preaching, No free form. The Lord is deliberate, we should be deliberate. It should be expositional. If it's not expository, then it's not preaching, It's just speaking.

That said, here are some great resources.

http://www.shepherdsfellowship.org/sermonbuilder/

http://www.9marks.org/answers-for-pastors/preaching

Posts 37
Doug Bassett | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jun 6 2010 8:31 PM

Alex Scott:

Rosie Perera:
I worry about James 3:1.

I wouldn't worry about that Rosie.  The judgement may be more strict, but it's worth it in the long run.

We are not to worry but it is definitely something to take serious.

Unless you are a director of women's ministry, or pastor to women, then I would also take seriously Timothy 2:11-14

http://www.gotquestions.org/women-pastors.html

 

Posts 13412
Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jun 6 2010 11:51 PM

Doug Bassett:
Unless you are a director of women's ministry, or pastor to women, then I would also take seriously Timothy 2:11-14

If you've got issues with a member of this forum, I'm really not sure you should be debating them publicly. Contact details for several forum posters are not difficult to find with Google.

Posts 52
Scott Warren | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jun 7 2010 4:40 AM

The few times I,ve preached I wrote a manuscript. read it several times a day till it was time to walk up and preach. I would leave it in the pew and preach it from memory. this helps me get thoughts in order but lets me go with what the Holy Spirit prompts. I have also found it useful to put a post it note in my bible with memory Jogs and an outline. This post by Josh Harris show how several well known pastor's do there notes. http://www.joshharris.com/2008/08/the_preaching_notes_series_int.php

Posts 8659
TCBlack | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jun 7 2010 7:01 AM

I preach with a full manuscript on the pulpit - but tend to walk away from it.  So once the sermon is done and printed out, I'll read it a time or two if I can but usually I don't have the time. 

When the prelude starts I'm usually praying feverishly for God to use me, by the time the pastoral prayer comes along, and I've prayed for the congregation's needs I always close that prayer just before the sermon with an earnest plea that God will help me to get out of the way, that the Holy Spirit will speak through me, and that we will see Jesus.  

Then I preach.

Hmm Sarcasm is my love language. Obviously I love you. 

Page 1 of 2 (24 items) 1 2 Next > | RSS