LECTURE 15 ON SERMON PREPARATION Writing

Broadus suggests that the advantages of writing out the sermon are as follows: concentration on the subject, thorough preparation, better style, the option to revise, and publication. Frankly I have a hard time understanding how preachers who do not write out their thoughts can possibly accomplish the refining and revisions that should be done. A mere written outline is good, but it will not suffice for someone who wants to speak the truth with concise, accurate, emotionally fervent and moving words. That takes work. Authors go over their manuscripts many times before submitting them, and then the editor does it again. How can we who preach the Word do less in handling the precious and exalted Word of God? Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah and others in the Bible committed God’s words to writing. We should not disdain the effort it takes. My feeling is that, since Jesus said men will be brought into judgment for the idle words they speak, we should be extremely concerned about the words we use in the pulpit.

Although your sermons may never be published in a book they could be published online or made available to your congregation in printed form. A disadvantages is clearly too much dependence on the manuscript, but that is preferable to disorganized wandering in a sermon, and few of us are possessed of the mental discipline to memorize every sermon. Another disadvantage is that it takes time. I write out all my sermons, but not for publication because I want to know not only what I am going to say, but the way I am going to say it. Sometimes people request a copy and I normally say that I have a manuscript but I must edit it. This I do, and then pass it along. Let us remember that not only our congregation on earth but the very angels of heaven witness our worship and our sermons.