How to Prepare and Deliver Sermons: I have been preaching for nearly twenty-six years and I am still fine tuning the science and art of preparing and delivering sermons. When it comes to teaching my students, I have found a great joy in reading and learning more about sermon preparation and delivery.
I generally divide my teaching notes on sermon preparation and delivery under three headings: preparation, procedure and presentation.
Before I went to seminary, I had several opportunities to preach sermons in my local church. However, I did not understand the science and art of sermon preparation and delivery. This was very frustrating and discouraging. So when I went to seminary, I took every opportunity to learn to be a student of God’s word. I realised that this is the preparation stage for writing and delivering sermons.
What do I mean by this? The preparation stage is where you discover what the text of Scripture is all about. There are different ways to do this. If you have learned the original languages, you may want to sketch a grammatical outline of the Greek text. The grammatical outline will help you see the relationship between each element of the passage and it will help you organise the flow of thought in the passage.
If you sketch a grammatical outline of Hebrews 12:1-2, you will find that the main point is running the race of life faithfully. The rest of the passage tells us how to run the race of life faithfully (These are the sub-points). We run the race of life with determination, inspiration, freedom and focus. This becomes very clear when you sketch a grammatical outline of the Greek text.
If you are not proficient in the original languages, you can sketch a mechanical layout of the passage of Scripture in English. If you take Hebrews 12:1-2, you can sketch a similar layout to the grammatical outline. As I said the mechanical layout is very similar to the grammatical outline except you are sketching it in English.
The preparation stage is the study stage and it is hard work. It will take time to outline the passages you are preaching in order to discover what the passage is about. However, if you diligently do your work in the preparation stage, then it makes it easier to put your thought into a sermon message.
Resources for How to Prepare and Deliver Sermons – The Preparation Stage:
Kantenwein Lee L, 1979, Diagrammatical Analysis, BMH Books, Indiana. (This book will help you understand the Grammatical Outline of the Greek Text)
McQuilkin Robertson, 2009, Understanding and Applying the Bible, Moody Publishers, Chicago. (This book will help you understand the Mechanical Layout of the Scriptures)
Once you have studied the text of Scripture and collated all the information, the next step is putting your sermon material in a package that you can deliver to your congregation.
There are different ways to do this – deductively, inductively or a bit of both. If I were to use a deductive method to teach Hebrews 12:1-2, I would outline it like this: There are four words of encouragement when it comes to our journey with Jesus. We need determination, inspiration, freedom and focus. I would use these four words as my main points and I would expand and explain them with illustrations where appropriate.
Once I have developed the sermon outline, I would put content to the sermon outline. I would then write and introduction and conclusion.
The procedure stage is all about collating information into a package in order to deliver it to your congregation.
Resources for How to Prepare and Deliver Sermons – The Procedure Stage:
Chapell Bryan, 1994, Christ-Centered Preaching: Redeeming the Expository Sermon, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Koller Charles W, 1995, How To Preach Without Notes, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids Michigan.
Braga James, 1981, How To Prepare Bible Messages, Multnomah Press, Portland, Oregon.
Once you have studied the text of Scripture which you wish to teach and put it into a sermon package, you are now really to deliver it to your congregation.
Presentation is one area that many preachers neglect. We must remember that preaching is a science and an art and we can learn much about our style of preaching. After all, we bring much to the pulpit like character, passion, personality, beliefs, methodology so it is important that we understand and learn more about these features.
We all have a preaching style. Style is the process by which the preacher delivers the sermon package to the congregation. Style is influenced by your personality, passion, character, beliefs and methodology.
This is one area I have learned much especially working with students with different preaching styles.
The presentation stage is about how you deliver the sermon package to your congregation.
Resources for How to Prepare and Deliver Sermons – The Presentation Stage:
Wilkinson Bruce H, Teaching With Style, DVD Set Walk Through The Bible.
Wilkinson Bruce H, 1992 The 7 Laws of the Learner Multnomah Books, Colorado Springs.
Wilkinson Bruce & Howard G. Hendricks, Teaching With Style, the Seven Laws of the Teacher and The Seven Laws of the Learner, Walk Through The Bible.
This collection features the complete DVD teachings for:
Teaching With Style, DVD Set
The 7 Laws of the Teacher, DVD Set
The 7 Laws of the Learner, DVD Set
Teaching With Style – External Behaviors