In seven posts we will take you step by step through a system of sermon preparation that is based in the African American Tradition. I have called it the “Supercharge Your Sermons” system. The first phase is to have preparatory planning.
Supercharged Sermons require some sermonic planning. While it is true that many preachers don’t plan past the sermon that they are preaching this week, if you are going to put your sermons in overdrive, you need to plan in advance what you are to preach. It is my contention that the Black Preaching Mindset should help us in this endeavor.
I have begun teaching Preparatory Planning in 5 steps that I will delineate:
Step 1: Prayer – and a Prayerful Attitude
The first step is to recognize that God is needed in your sermonic planning. We cannot know what to preach unless we get help from “On High.” So pray and ask God to guide your steps as you attempt to determine what is needed by your congregation.
Step 2: Where is the Preacher
Who are you as a preacher? If you do not know where you are, then you will often misdiagnose the needs and problems of your congregation. Let me tell you what I mean. Often, if a preacher is not aware of the preacher’s own faults and problems then it will push the preacher to take one of two roads. The preacher will either minimize that problem, or maximize that problem as the only problem.
For example, if the preacher is struggling with gossiping. The preacher may preach sermons almost exclusively about the sin of gossiping irregardless of if this is a problem for anyone else but that preacher. If not that, the preacher may be inclined to ignore the problem even if it is rampant in the preacher’s church (as it normally is). My main point is that if the preacher is not aware of where the preacher is, these issues may guide the preacher into sermons that are not needed. So step one is to know who you are and what you are struggling with so that you don’t allow it to unnecessarily guide you into sermons that don’t hit the spot of need in your congregation.
Step 3: Where is the Congregation
Where is the congregation right now? You need to understand the real congregation. Don’t make assumptions. What are its struggles? What does it need to deal with? What has happened in the life of the congregation? Once again, I wish to emphasize don’t make assumptions. Sometimes preachers find themselves in a congregation that is a part of a denominational body that is known for legalism. If that is the case, don’t make the assumption that your particular congregation has a problem with legalism just because the main body has this problem. Your church may be one of the few that has the opposite problem. Maybe your congregation has another problem altogether.
In any case, study your congregation to find out where it is right now.
Step 4: What is God’s ideal for the Congregation?
There are a couple of issues here. You have to know what is God’s ideal FOR THIS CONGREGATION. Today we live in an era of one size fits all ministry. Go grab the latest church growth or ministry book and force the cookie cutter ministry on your congregation and then you will have a powerful mega ministry. But, it is my belief, that God has different roles for different congregations based on the gifts and history of that particular congregation.
So I say look at what is the meaning of Church and filter that with the realities of the church where you are preaching. Then you will have a template for God’s ideal for your particular church. This template should consist of themes that need addressing in your congregation.
Step 5: Where is God At Work Now?
Ok now you have a number of themes that need preaching in your congregation. Now look at these themes and look in your congregation. You should see God already working to address these themes in your congregation. You might see, for example, the layperson working to start a ministry even though the majority of the congregation thinks ministry is a spectator sport. You might see the mother in the church showing and living grace in the midst of a congregation that has too little grace.
Now you have themes and you see where God is already working. So you know which themes are being addressed in your congregation right now. It is your job to aid God in addressing these themes.
Step 6: Create Sermonic Plan to Take You from Where They are To Where They Should Be
Now you are in a position to construct a plan. You have looked at the real needs of the congregation. You have looked at your own real needs. You have factored all of that. Then you have looked at what you believe God’s plan for your particular congregation. And you have a list of themes that are already being addressed in your congregation. Now you construct a sermonic plan to take the congregation from where they are to where they need to be.
Here you select scriptures that will help you address these themes and go on ahead and preach these sermons.
Preaching Course to Address This Step
This is the basic steps needed to construct a sermonic plan that helps you address that which needs addressing in your congregation. If you would like mroe help in putting together a sermonic plan, then I would encourage you to sign up for the Supercharge Your Sermons preaching course that you can find at: http://www.superchargeyoursermons.com.
That course is the premier Interdenominational African American Preaching course delivered over the web. Sign up and become a member.