Every time I preach, there are over 10 different steps that I take to get my sermon to the final outline. I’ve share with you previously about my first step, but here is another vital move I make in sermon preparation.
After I’ve done most of my word studies, translation comparisons and exegesis work, I start a document that I call my “Study Notes.” These become my personalized commentary for the passage that I am going to be preaching. These notes are NOT:
- A well rounded article or manuscript
- The final thing I take to the pulpit
- The refined document where my preaching points can be found
- The place were I work out my illustrations
All of those things come later in what I refer to as my “Sermon Outline” – that then is the document that I actually take to the pulpit. My Sermon Notes however, are a working document that I will put everything into prior to working on my Sermon Outline. This become the buffet from where I pick and choose what I will actually take to the pulpit. I will even put the content of this document on my Evernote so that I can review all this on the fly – and add to it, if needed.
There are a few things I include at the beginning of this document that I do refer back to often throughout my sermon prep:
- What is the title and working subtitle?
- What is the Summary of this passage (in one sentence)?
- Where else is this story found in the Bible (if applicable)?
- What is the Exegetical, Theological and Applicational Idea of this passage?
- An outline of the passage
- A proposed outline for my preaching of the passage (this almost always changes, but I like to at least sketch out the outline up front if I can and refine it from there)
By Having this document in the works or finished early on in my sermon prep schedule and I am able to (1) give my staff what they need for the bulletin, sermon-based small group curriculum, etc. and (2) I then can start pulling out what I want to focus on for my sermon outline.
Here is a sample of the first page of one of my most recent “Sermon Notes”: