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Justin Buzzard: How I Prepare a Sermon

My three-stage plan for writing a message in 15 hours

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Several years ago as a staff pastor, I developed the following process for writing my sermons in three stages, requiring a total of 15 hours. I'm a church planter now, so this has become the ideal, subject to real-world demands.

I. Tilling the Soil: Study the Text, and Structure the Sermon

This stage requires 5 hours, and I do it on the Monday 13 days before I preach.

Study the text. Pause to pray over this sermon, then enjoy the creation process with a heart of faith. In recent weeks I've been jotting down ideas for this sermon on a prep sheet, but now is the official start of sermon prep. Record notes on a prep sheet. View sermon prep as a vital piece of my discipleship—Jesus has called me to preach for my own sanctification and joy. Beware of idolatry in my heart: What's ruling me as I prepare this sermon—Jesus and his gospel, or some idol of performance?

Note the immediate context of the text. Determine the text's genre and begin pestering the text with historical and literary ...

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