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Before You Preach

Questions you ask yourself now may save your sermon later

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When I go to the store without a list, there's no telling what I'll bring home. Same with preaching. Without a list to go by, there's no telling what I'll deliver.

I have a three-by-five card taped to my desk with a list of questions on it. Once I've done my biblical spadework, I break for caffeine, then start in with the first question. I ask these questions every time I prepare a sermon.

In one sentence, what is this sermon about? When, on Tuesday, someone asks, "What are you preaching about Sunday?" I hope I can answer with one clear sentence. It may be similar to the big idea of the text, but it's more relevant.

What theological category would this fit under? Am I being theologically faithful? If the sermon is not theological, on some level, what is it?

What do I want my listeners to know? This question causes my sermon to engage the mind. What information does a listener need to know before he or she can act?

What do I want them to do? This is the application question, which focuses on ...

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