Search Results for: Preparing a sermon

Preparing a Sermon for the Real Congregation

LaRue’s next element of great preaching is the significance of the waiting Congregation. In this element, the congregation is involved in the entire preparation process.

Some preachers do this in a formal way. They have people from all walks of life to sit in “sermon preparation committees.” I think that this can be an effective mans of determining what the congregation wants, but LaRue is speaking of the fact that even those who do not have such a committee have the people in their thoughts as they prepare the sermon.

The preacher thinks about the woman who just lost a child. What does the gospel say to her. The young man who is running from the law, the young woman who is worrying about being pregnant, and that one who is thinking of breaking God’s law in some way. The preacher has the “waiting congregation” in the preacher’s mind as the preacher seeks to prepare and deliver the message. LaRue states: “every effort is made to say for them and to them what they (the congregation) would say if they should have the chance.”

The waiting congregation should not only affect the preaching moment, but also the exegesis of the scripture for preaching.

When Are You Finished Preparing Your Sermon?

This is another one of the most popular questions. Whenever I have a seminar or receive questions through the mail, someone asks, “How do I know my sermon is ready for preaching.”

This is a very important question, but often our own misunderstandings of what “ready to preach” means can cause issues. For example, “Ready to preach” does not mean that the sermon can not be made better with more thought, study, and prayer.

Preparing Your Sermon for Preaching – Editing and Polishing

Before you are ready to preach a sermon, you should edit and polish your sermon. One of the few articles that address sermon polishing is Henry Mitchell’s. He has written a in the John McClure edited book Best Advice for Preaching. I generally speak of editing and polishing a sermon in terms of 3 edits. You might look at each of these edits as a different dimension of a comprehensive edit of the sermon manuscript.

Theological Edit

First one should do a theological edit. Here we make sure that what we are saying about God is what we wish to say about God.

Rhetorical Edit

Second we should do a rhetorical edit. The glory of the African American pulpit is its great oratory. Here we should explicitly attempt to speak poetically. Remember that you are writing for the ear and not the eye. Look at your images. Can you speak of them more poetically? Can you use a better image that is more vibrant? As noted above J. Alfred Smith’s work can be helpful here.

Grammatical Edit

Finally we need a grammatical edit. When completing the other edits try not to allow spelling or grammar to deter you. But on this edit you want to ruthlessly eliminate the grammatical and spelling errors that have entered into your sermon.

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