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Matt Chandler: How I Prepare a Sermon

Helping you develop your signature method of preparing a message

Editor's note: As preachers develop their signature method of sermon preparation over the years, they often enhance their process by "cherry picking" from the sermon prep schedules and checklists of others. When someone preaches in a way that consistently intrigues and speaks to us, and we wonder how they do it, the answer may well be found in those schedules and checklists.

PreachingToday.com: Are there any key questions you normally answer, or paths of thought you typically take, as you study a text and write the sermon?

Matt Chandler: I am predominately concerned with the text, but when preparation moves to application of the text, I think through the following questions:

  • What objections will those who aren't believers (both pagans and those who are the religiously lost) have to this text?
  • Has this text been taught incorrectly in recent history?
  • How does the application of this text vary to people across the different stages of life—from High School student, college student, single adult, married adult, or empty nester? How does the application vary from a male or female perspective?
  • Have I correctly and faithfully pointed people to the person and work of Christ and the gospel in this text?

What schedule routine do you follow in sermon preparation?

I have three separate two-and-a-half lockdown study days a week: Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturday mornings. I am at least six weeks ahead and can be almost six months ahead at certain times of the year. I usually adhere to the following schedule:

  • On Tuesdays I do most of my exegesis and build out sermon outlines.
  • On Thursdays I begin to put flesh and blood to the sermon outlines. Illustrations, word pictures, and so on all happen on Thursdays. The questions listed above get asked and answered, and the sermon can have radical shifts on that day.
  • Saturday is more about making sure the text has read me. I get up to my study at noon, pray over my message, and pray through the text leading up to our first service at 5:00 p.m.

Matt Chandler serves as Lead Pastor of Teaching at The Village Church in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex and serves as president of Acts 29, a worldwide church-planting organization.

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