My Preaching Workflow (and tools)

Everyone has a different way of preparing sermons.  I have been thinking about the best way of preparing and thought I would start with what I actually do before I start looking at what I should be doing.  I thought I would blog it so others can help me think more carefully about preparation.  This post is very much about the technical side of things, if you want to see the prayer side of things head here.

1. Several months out

Investigate the passage.  I write notes on the passage and get as much information as I can.   I will be looking at commentaries, other people speaking, everything I can to understand the passage.  I will make notes on different application points, questions I still have and possible structures.  I average around 20,000 words a series on this.

Tools: I do this on Scrivener but have used different word processors in the past.

2. 3 weeks out

The goal here is to get the “by line” and structure of the talk.  I don’t just mean a “Big Idea”.  The Big Idea is what the passage is about.  A By Line is what makes the talk sell, by which I mean why is it not good, not important, but essential that someone listen to this talk.

What I do is re-write the passage by hand, so I get the passage back in my head. I use a whiteboard or blank sheet of paper to see how all the ideas connect.  I think this is very important to do kesitheically, so important I have a separate desk to work on it in my study.

Tools: White board, paper, pens sometimes post-it notes.

3. 2 weeks out

It’s time to write.   I write the details of each point and work on getting the structure right.  I will be looking at different preaching formulas (in blog posts to come) to see what will work best.  I write in detail for precision.

Tools: Scrivener

4. 1 week out

This phase is all about final polishing and getting delivery right.  By now the talk is pretty much written and the emphasis here is on delivery. I take what I have from Scrivener and transfer it to Pages to preach from,  I will work out what is going to go on the outline from this as well as key questions that will go along with it.  I use Keynote for slides for visual learners.  I don’t know why anyone would use Powerpoint.  At this point I think Slideology is essential reading.

Tools: Pages for script, Keynote for display.

5. After Delivery

How well did I go? Sometimes listen, usually look at feedback in terms of questions.

Tools: Question time, feedback forms.


Are there things you do that I have missed or should be doing?


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