The days leading up to a sermon can be very stressful for a preacher. Your sermon content is on your mind constantly. The responsibility of preparing a sermon can be daunting because when Sunday comes you have to deliver. You need a plan, a guide, a schedule to keep you on track. Here’s why you need a weekly sermon prep schedule:
- So you can stay on schedule
As a preacher you never want to procrastinate and put off your sermon prep. But things come up and you have to deal with unexpected events. Your study gets interruped and it’s difficult to stay on schedule. A written sermon prep schedule is an objective measure. It can help you stay on track with your prep. If you get behind, you’ll know it. If you get ahead, you’ll know it. Sometimes writing the schedule down is half the battle. This helps you avoid scheduling other meetings on top of your most important preparation times.
- So your sermon prep doesn’t become all-consuming
It is easy to let the sermon become all-consuming. To let it become all you think about. To put other work aside so that you can focus on it entirely. There are times when the sermon content demands this kind of undivided attention, but if this is your norm then you will have an unbalanced ministry. This is especially true if you not only preach but lead as well. A leader buried in constant study is an inattentive leader. You want to be able to prepare sermons AND attend to the needs of your church. A sermon prep schedule allows you to pull away from the study and still be confident you’re on schedule.
- So you can build margin into your week
All of us need margin in our schedules. We need flexibility to deal with the unexpected. A sermon prep schedule allows you to plan your week in its entirety and keep enough room for the unplanned. If you make sermon preparation part of your nonnegotiable weekly tasks then it is less likely to get interrupted or pushed aside for other things.
These are the reasons why I have a written preparation schedule. It helps measure my progress and keep me on track.
What does a weekly sermon prep schedule look like?
I’ve listed out each day of the week with a brief explanation of what I complete regarding my sermon prep. Every pastor’s schedule is different, and every church has its own set of meetings and weekly schedules. But I want to show you my schedule so you’ll have an example of what one looks like:
(Prior to Monday I would have already began combing through the text. The preaching team would have already developed an objective and desired response for the sermon. And the sermon would fit into a series of sermons that we would have certain goals and objectives for. I wrote about the preaching team dynamic here.)
Begin studying text
Preaching team meeting in the afternoon to discuss content
Begin first draft of outline and notes
No official prep. Let Monday’s study soak in. Chew on it.
Complete first draft my sermon notes
Begin building PowerPoint
Bulletin outline to communications team by 11:00 AM
Seek input from others (run though my outline and seek feedback)
Finalize my notes
Sunday walk through with service planning staff 1:30 PM
Rehearse sermon 2:00 PM (record for time)
Make necessary adjustments
Send final PowerPoint to media team
Don’t even think about the sermon. Not even for a second. I take a break.
Rehearse one more time (usually in front of my wife because she gives super helpful feedback)
Eat a good breakfast.
What does your schedule look like? What have you found to be helpful in preparing your sermons?