The Sermon Preparation Wall

The Sermon Preparation Wall

The more I preach, the more I realize how much I need a sermon preparation wall. Here’s how it works.

Every Monday, I sit down and begin the sermon preparation process all over again. Even on Monday I can feel the pressure of the coming Sunday breathing down my neck. I get into the text and I’m immediately tempted to think of how I can preach that text in just six days.

And that’s just the problem.

I’ve become convinced that before I can work on how to preach the text, I need to make sure I understand the text. That means that I’ve erected a wall in my mind. Here’s how it works for me.

Monday and Tuesday (The Textual Side)

  • read and re-read the text
  • meditate on the text
  • ask questions of the text
  • work on understanding authorial intent
  • come up with exegetical idea and supporting ideas in the text
  • consult commentaries
  • begin to apply the text to my own life

This is where I build my imaginary wall. I’m not allowed to cross it until I’ve completed the work listed above. Once I have, I then begin to think of how I’m going to preach the text. Here’s what it looks like on the other side of the wall.

Wednesday and Thursday (The Homiletical Side)

  • work on homiletical idea and general outline
  • decide on the sermon form
  • develop the sermon
  • prepare to preach the sermon

If I move right from the text to homiletics, I short-circuit the process. I don’t have a message to preach until I’ve spent some time respecting the text, allowing it to speak. Until the text wrestles me to the ground on Monday and Tuesday, I have no way to communicate that text faithfully to the congregation so it can wrestle them to the ground as well.

One of the best pieces of advice I would give to any preacher is to erect a wall in the process of sermon preparation. Spend some time in the text without worrying how you’re going to preach it. That comes later. By doing this, you’ll have a much better message to preach when that part of the preparation process comes.

The Sermon Preparation Wall
Darryl Dash

Darryl Dash

I'm a grateful husband, father, oupa, and pastor of Grace Fellowship Church Don Mills. I love learning, writing, and encouraging. I'm on a lifelong quest to become a humble, gracious old man.
Toronto, Canada