Whether it’s Monday morning and you are fresh off a successful Sunday service or it’s Saturday night and you are frantically trying to finish a sermon, every pastor knows Sunday is coming. Sunday arrives whether pastors are ready or not. The dirty little secret no one really tells pastors before they begin their ministry is sermons will need to be ready weekly. Sunday morning means another sermon needs to be ready.
If you are like most pastors, that dreaded blank page before you start writing a sermon can make it seem impossible to ever finish. What you need at that moment, even if you are a seasoned pastor with years of sermon writing behind you, are some steps to keep in mind so that Sunday’s arrival does not find you empty-handed.
Below are some simple steps to keep in mind to aid you in your sermon writing:
Whether you are starting a brand new series, a one-off sermon, or on week 7 of a 12 part series, it’s always good to spend time in prayer over the passage you are preaching that Sunday. Ask God to reveal to you what you and your congregation need to hear that week.
The key here is to be able to know the main thought of the scripture you’ll be preaching. This means knowing things like the context of the original audience, the main idea of the passage, what kind of passage is this (narrative, epistle, parable,etc), and any interesting points from the Greek or Hebrew words. You’ll use all this knowledge to inform your sermon writing.
Once you’ve got the main thought of the sermon down, it’s time for application. Start with thinking of how the main point of your scripture applies to you. From there you can usually find ways that the scripture will also apply to your audience. And while the application will look different from the original Biblical audience, it’s important not to lose sight of the main point of your scripture when applying it today. Don’t forget a good illustration with concrete steps for your audience.
At this point, you should be ready to write your sermon. Whether that’s some kind of an outline or a word-for-word transcript. You will still likely need some good illustrations to open with, a hook to grab the audience’s attention and get them invested.
Sunday is coming! Hopefully with these 4 steps you will feel ready to face that dreaded blank screen to write your sermon so Sunday finds you prepared.