Birthing a Sermon

It's not easy! As much as you might think, "I could do that" when you hear your pastor preach, it is a lot more work than you can imagine. Oh, occasionally there will be a sermon that will just "pop" out and come together in a matter of minutes, but that is not the norm. Just as in a pregnancy, there is conception (getting an idea from God) gestation (studying) maturation (ironing out the wrinkles) and finally, birth. When you're faced with a holiday, like Easter, the challenge is to present the material in a fresh mode that is in the vernacular of the people to whom you're preaching and yet is challenging. The ratio of preparation to delivery, in my experience has been almost 3-1. That is, 3 hours study and prep time for each hour of preaching.
I remember hearing of a pastor being interviewed by a search committee who asked them, "Do you want my head or my feet?" The committee puzzled over that and asked, "What do you mean?" "Well," replied the pastor, "If you want my head, you'll need to plan on my spending 30+ hours each week in study and prayer. If you want my feet, you'll be expecting me to visit the sick, shut ins, prospects, etc. Study time will take a back seat and the sermons will lack the power that comes from study and prayer." That particular committee chose his head, reasoning that the other ministries could be covered by other staff or lay persons. The man had a long, fruitful ministry in that church which led their state in baptisms for most of the years he was pastor.
Moses often spent days on end on the mountain with God before returning to tell the people what God had said. Paul told Timothy to "study to show himself approved unto God...". That being said, respect your pastor's need to spend time in study and prayer. Before you pick up the phone to make a call to ask your pastor to pay a visit to Aunt Judy, ask yourself "would her Sunday School teacher do just as well?"


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