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Taking the Pressure Out of Sermon Prep

A longer preparation window reduces anxiety, fosters creativity, and makes us more attentive to the Holy Spirit.

Taking the Pressure Out of Sermon Prep

For as long as I can remember, I've had this recurring nightmare. I'm back at school, and facing an exam for which I am completely unprepared. (It is usually in Math or French.) Since I've become a pastor, I've had another similar nightmare. I'm in the church sanctuary, the offering is being taken, and I am about to get up and preach in a couple of minutes—but I have no idea what to say. I begin to frantically scratch out an outline on some scrap paper. I get up, move to the pulpit, glance down at my notes. Then to my horror, all I can see are these completely indecipherable symbols: #!%?3^R*^&.

We pastors feel great pressure to come up with something creative, coherent, and hopefully inspiring at least once a week. My brother worked as a national radio host for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). When he was still a reporter, he was only one of a couple of people employed by the CBC who was permitted to offer his personal opinion on news events in ...

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Displaying 1–5 of 17 comments

Patrick Lim

November 17, 2017  9:46am

Thank you.

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Tammy Shane

November 17, 2015  4:04pm

Thanks. Needed this.

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Pamela Duncan

November 03, 2015  6:23am

Awesome advice!!! Thank you so very much.

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Jacob Buurma

November 02, 2015  8:49am

Great article! It shows how sermon writing (and other forms of creative work) follow a different trajectory than other forms of labor. You can complete a painting project in a day and be done. But cramming sermon prep into a single day short-circuits the creative process and creates needless pressure. The 10-day concept is fantastic!

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Karli Baldwin

November 01, 2015  10:48pm

Thank you for your faithful leadership to leaders!

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