1. God Lays a Message on the Heart of the Messenger
Here you need to ask the Lord, through fervent prayer, “What is it that you want to communicate to your people, God?” Identify ways that God is communicating to you personally. What is it that He is stirring within your own heart? Also, identify the needs of those you are preaching to – what is it that God needs you to say to them?
Here you will also begin to understand if the message God has to deliver through you is a one time message or something that may take a season (series) to communicate.
2. God’s Word is Explored
Here you (1) find the passage that speaks to what is laid on my heart. After studying that passage (2) you identify what the passage says about it. Make sure you are writing everything down. Keep track of the things you are finding in the Bible. This may be a path you will need to travel back down to observe things in detail, for now just make sure you understand the bigger principles. It is a good idea to compare translation of your passage to identify the differences in order to find what may need further study later. (Day 1)
3. The Main Preaching Point is Conceived
After seeing what God’s Word says about the message you feel God is planting in your heart, it is time to start forming the sermon. Now you need to identify the central point of your sermon. What is the “Big Idea” of your talk? It is from this main preaching point that all your other points will come from. Exegete the passage correctly to make sure the preaching point is extracted from the text and not read back into the text. (Day 1)
4. The Messenger is Fed
Now spend time to read about the passage or topic on which you are going to preach. Find material that gets as close to your preaching point as possible. If it is a specific passage or chapter of Scripture you will be addressing, then read one or two commentaries about that passage. This is a time for you to allow the message to grow within you as you gain a deeper knowledge and understanding of the topic and passage. I recommend that you spend your study time for a whole day to just read and write about what you are learning about the message’s topic or passage. Don’t start drafting your sermon until your heart is “full” and you know most of your study is done. (Day 2)
5. The Message is Outlined
After you’ve done most of your study, take a blank piece of paper, sit down and pour out the things that God has placed in your heart about the message. Hopefully after you’ve fed yourself on the topic which you are preaching, you will have many specific ideas about what needs to be said in order to communicate the preaching point clearly. Take the points you feel are most important for you and your audience and start putting them in an outline order. At this end of the process you should have a complete outline for your sermon. (Day 2)
6. The Message Festers Inside the Messenger
Sit on the outline for a day. Take it with you wherever you go (meetings, in the car, to coffee etc.) and look over it. Change or add to it as you ponder it more. After looking at it more you should get to a point that you could say the outline without looking at it. Mull over the points and start to think about how your will expound on and preach them. Make sure you are carrying a pen with you so you can capture all your ideas. (Day 3)
7. The Details Are Put in Place
This is your main writing day. Now you will take the outline, all the notes you’ve made, and the books you read and start to put down a complete sermon. If you manuscript your sermons, do that here. All parts of your sermon need to be thought through and studied. Exegete your passages. Write out your intro, outro and illustrations. After this day your study should be complete and you should have your actual study notes and preaching notes (what you take in the pulpit) nearly complete. Now the labor pains are near over and the sermon is close to being birthed. (Day 4)
8. Pray through it
Take the completed preaching notes with you into your prayer closet. Spend sometime asking God to bless and verify what you’ve prepared. Read through them many times. You may want to keep carrying the notes around with you for a day and pray thought them. Or you may want to purposely not carry the notes with you, but pray through the message as you remember it. This will help commit the sermon to your memory and allow God, through prayer, to write those sermon notes upon your heart. (Day 5 and 6)
9. Preach it!
It is time to deliver what the Lord has given you. Preach it faithfully, humbly and unashamedly (2 Timothy 4:2). (Day 7)