Most pastors preach on average forty to fifty times a year. Over a twenty-year career, it’s not unheard of for a pastor to preach over one thousand sermons. To put that into perspective the longest running show on television, The Simpsons, has broadcast 583 episodes over the past 26 years and has used 108 different writers to do it.
The amount of content a pastor is asked to create is astronomical, over a thousand sermons in a twenty-year career, and we haven’t even factored in pastors who preach a different message on Sunday nights and/or Wednesdays.
It’s easy to see how one could quickly get overwhelmed.
The simple solution is to commit to preaching less. Find someone to fill in. The church will survive without you for a Sunday, I promise. I’d limit yourself to preaching less than 45 weekends a year, forty if your preaching multiple services.
Preaching less will help, but you still need to create forty plus sermons a year that connect with your audience. This is no easy task. So let me offer a few suggestions to help.
- Fill the Well
Too many pastors get in the habit of only reading the Bible for sermon preparation and not reading the Bible for personal transformation. Don’t make that mistake. Don’t let sermon prep take the place of your personal time with God. Commit time each day to digging into God’s word. Don’t fall into the trap of forgetting your first love.
- Capture Ideas
In order to capture ideas, you need to find ideas. Read a book, read a blog, listen to a podcast, and listen to other preachers. The options are endless. Then jot these ideas down. You can use the old school way and just get a notebook, or I suggest using an app like Evernote. Pastor Ron Edmonson has created an Ebook called “Evernote for Pastors” that is an excellent resource.
- Write in Batches
I wrote an earlier post talking about why I believe sermon series are better than stand alone sermons. A great thing about series is you can write your sermons in batches. That means when you’re writing, you’re not just thinking about one sermon, but you’re planning and outlining multiple sermons at the same time. This helps you write multiple sermons in less time.
- Get Feedback
Too many pastors never ask for feedback. I think it’s a good idea not just to get feedback after you preach, but get feedback on your sermon before you preach. Bounce ideas off your staff, your friends, and your spouse. Each individual will have unique perspectives and ideas that can help shape and mold your sermon.
- Use a Calendar
I highly recommend using a preaching calendar. Jeff Henderson does a great job of showing you how to set one up in this video. When you plan out your preaching in advance, you eliminate those weeks when you’re in panic because you have no idea what you’re doing on Sunday.
Creating sermons can be hard. Hopefully, these tips will make it a little easier.
I’d love to hear your tips. Please share them in the comments below.
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