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What to Leave on the Cutting Room Floor

The distinction between studying the text like a scholar and planning the sermon like a pastor.

What to Leave on the Cutting Room Floor

When Robert Zemeckis was well into filming the first footage of Back to the Future, he realized that much of what he was capturing on film wasn't quite right. Once this insightful Hollywood director concluded that the young Eric Stoltz was not right as Marty McFly, he knew that a casting change would result in piles of unusable film, which would have to be discarded on the cutting room floor. But Zemeckis' bold decision to give the lead role to Michael J. Fox midway through production proved to be just what moviegoers would need to bring the time traveller's story to life.

I trust that many preachers can identify with the pain of these kinds of costly mid-course corrections in their weekly sermon prep. So much of what we work on in our study never makes it into the pulpit—and for good reason! If the sermon is to effectively hit the mark, much of what we generate at our desks doesn't belong in the finished product. Consider the numerous exegetical rabbit trails, the ...

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September 14, 2016  12:47pm

Interesting view. Good advice. Wordy as more magazine articles tend to be in present times. My contribution: Research, understand. Pray,meditate, think of the sheep, think of the questions. Simplify the obstacles to understanding the answers. Add examples. Humour, real life experience never pick on but pick through delicate current sensitivities. Express in lucidity,with etymology. Above all, teach clearly with an objective to memorize the truth. The sheep must learn and remember your sermon for years!! Simplicity, Lucidity and Clarity

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September 06, 2016  10:45am

Although this article addresses a much needed subject, it fails to adhere to its own advice. It could benefit from the editing room. Too much redundancy caused me to skim sections of its content. Having said that, I believe that the example questions to ask in the pastoral approach (the second phase) of sermon development was worth the time of reading this article.

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Leslie Daniels

September 06, 2016  10:14am

Very helpful!

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