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How to Write a Sermon: An In-depth Guide

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Delivering a sermon, especially if it’s your first time, can be a daunting task. Public speaking, in general, can be intimidating, but when it comes to a sermon, there is an added pressure to deliver words that are relevant, meaningful, and engaging. If you’re new to sermon writing and have an upcoming talk with your congregation, the following guide can assist you.

These step-by-step instructions will break down the process of writing a sermon, making it easier and more manageable. By following these steps, you can write your sermon, practice your delivery, and soon become comfortable in delivering impactful words that move and inspire congregants while teaching important lessons.

Know the Passage Your Sermon Focuses on Intimately

After selecting the passage for your sermon, it’s important to develop a deep understanding of it. Take the time to engage with the passage by reading it both silently and aloud. This practice will help you become familiar with the text, internalize its message, and grasp its personal significance. However, don’t limit your exploration to just the chosen passage.

It can be beneficial to read the entire book of the Bible from which the passage originates. This broader context will provide a clearer understanding of the passage’s significance within the larger narrative of the Good Book. By immersing yourself in the passage and its surrounding context, you can enrich your sermon and convey a more comprehensive message to your congregation.

Engage in Some Outside Reading

After delving into the passage personally, it’s valuable to seek insights from other thinkers and experts. Numerous resources provide Biblical commentary to enhance your sermon. You can consult books, publications such as Christianity Today, or even engage with other ministers for their perspectives.

Incorporating different viewpoints can enrich and expand your understanding of the passage, resulting in a more profound and nuanced sermon. By exploring diverse perspectives, you can gain valuable insights that complement your own interpretation, allowing your message to resonate deeply with your congregation.

Think About Your Audience

Consider your audience carefully when crafting your sermon. Recognize that delivering a sermon to a youth group differs significantly from addressing the entire congregation. Take into account the listeners’ knowledge level, life experiences, and engagement preferences.

Reflect on what topics and narratives captivate their attention and which lessons are most relevant to their spiritual growth. Understanding your audience allows you to shape your sermon’s message effectively, ensuring the appropriate tone and language resonate with them.

By tailoring your sermon to the specific needs and interests of your listeners, you can deliver a powerful and meaningful message that deeply impacts their hearts and minds.

Make Connections Between the Passage and Life

An essential aspect of an impactful sermon is establishing a connection between its content and the present-day reality. Despite being written in ancient times, the words of the Bible continue to provide guidance for our lives and actions today. To achieve this connection, consider creating a list of modern-day scenarios or practical takeaways that resonate with the passage.

By exploring how the passage applies to contemporary situations, you infuse the sermon with relevance and make it meaningful for the congregants. This crucial step ensures that your sermon not only imparts timeless wisdom but also speaks directly to the lives and experiences of those listening.

Frame and Outline the Sermon

To effectively frame your sermon, ensure that it accomplishes three key objectives: explaining the passage, demonstrating its relevance in today’s world, and conveying its lesson. Ryan Huguley, a renowned speaker, podcast host, and lead pastor, shared his approach to structuring sermons at Ridgeline Church in Salt Lake City, Utah.

His three-step framework consists of Interpretation, Illustration, and Implication. During Interpretation, the text’s meaning is explained; Illustration brings clarity through relevant examples, and Implication applies the text’s teachings to our lives. Though challenging, once this framework is established, the remaining process becomes a matter of discipline.

Go Ahead and Write Your Sermon!

The next step in sermon preparation involves writing the sermon itself, which can be a somewhat tedious process. If you have already framed and outlined your sermon, this task should be more manageable. Add substance to your sermon outline by expanding on each point and topic. Afterward, review and edit the written content.

Type out the sermon, print it, and practice reading it aloud. Pay attention to any stumbling points or areas where you feel uncertain, and make necessary edits. Once you have gone through the reading and editing process, you will be prepared to deliver the sermon.

Practice Repeatedly After Writing the Sermon

To prepare for delivering your sermon, print it out on note cards. Practice reading the sermon aloud, simulating the experience of speaking in a church setting. You can refer to your note cards as needed during practice. As you rehearse, take notes on the sermon to aid your memory.

Highlight keywords or phrases you want to emphasize and make notations for any planned physical gestures or actions while speaking. These personalized cues will assist you in delivering the sermon effectively.

Consider Memorizing the Entire Sermon

Consider committing the sermon to memory by practicing reading the note cards repeatedly. Treat the text like a script for a play, aiming to internalize it. However, if you lack confidence during the delivery, you can bring the notecards with you as a backup.

Instead of solely reading from them, aim to use them as references when necessary. Try to maintain eye contact with the congregation as much as possible, using the notecards sparingly as a support tool.

Deliver Your Sermon!

By following the steps outlined above, you have likely prepared a remarkable sermon to present to your congregation. After practicing and becoming well-acquainted with the content and language, you will be ready to deliver it with confidence and composure. The great thing is that the sermon writing process follows a formula that can be replicated.

Therefore, once you have written and delivered one sermon, you have acquired the skills to write and deliver more in the future. This means you can seize any opportunity to share sermons with others. And when speaking to the congregation, don’t forget the importance of reminding everyone to give.

The DonorWerx Framework can help you do this without coming off as pushy. Schedule a Discovery Call today — free of charge — to learn more.

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