I believe in the 5 P’s of preaching: Proper preparation prevents poor preaching.
Better preaching begins with better preparation.
Maybe you’re one of the gifted few with so much raw talent and charisma that you sneeze and a sermon pops out. But for the rest of us mere mortals, we need to put in the work.
I’ve been pounding this message for years now because I still see too many pastors who aren’t properly prepared.
So here are three ways to make next year your best preaching year yet.
1. Plan Your Entire Year of Preaching
If you don’t know what you are preaching, how can you prepare?
When you know in advance what you are preaching, you’ll have weeks, even months, to let the message stir inside of you.
• You’ll see ways to illustrate a message from your daily life.
• You’ll flag things in articles and books that fit the sermon.
• You’ll be convicted of areas in your life where you need to apply that message to practice what you preach.
So get out a calendar or a spreadsheet and start mapping our the next year of preaching. You don’t have to know everything, but at least nail down the key passage of Scripture and the topic/theme of the sermon and series.
If you don’t have a sermon calendar template, you can save time and get my 2019 Sermon Calendar.
2. Get at Least a Month Ahead on Writing
Most pastors start their week with a blank page. No sermon. Maybe a rough plan. But nothing’s written.
Imagine sitting in your office chair on Monday morning, opening a file on your computer, and you already have the first draft of your sermon for the week.
How much stress would that take off your shoulders?
You might say, “That sounds great, but it’s not possible.”
You can get ahead on writing your sermon. It takes a little extra work up front, but once you get ahead, you only have to write one sermon a week to stay ahead (which is what you’re probably doing already).
I teach pastors a proven process for doing this in my course Best Preaching Year. You’ll also learn how to clean a year of preaching in advance. And one of the many bonus resources includes my Sermon Calendars for multiple years ahead.
If you haven’t signed up yet, now is a perfect time.
3. Create a Sermon Evaluation System
Every professional sports team watches game film.
The coach will break down each play. They’ll highlight what players did well and encourage them to keep doing it. But they’ll also point out what they did poorly, and teach them how to fix it.
These are grown men and women who have played the same sport since they were five years old. But they still need someone to evaluate their performance.
We need to go about our preaching the same way. Are you watching your game film?
Preaching is about more than just how we perform, but our method and style of delivery still matters. A great message poorly delivered can get lost in transit.
So if you aren’t regularly evaluating your sermons, start recording and evaluating every message.
And don’t just evaluate it yourself. We all have blind spots. Everyone needs a coach, someone with an outside perspective that can see what we can’t.
Find a trusted group of volunteers, elders, staff or a mentor to give you feedback.
In my book, Preach and Deliver, you can get more tips for improving your sermon delivery along with my sermon evaluation sheet to help you get started.
I’m also excited to announce that I’m opening up a limited number of spots in my schedule for personal sermon evaluation in 2019. So if you need a coach and would be interested in having me watch and evaluate one of your sermons, please contact me to ask for details.
Watching film and getting feedback is one of the best things you can do to get better.
I hope you find these tips and resources helpful.
God bless you and your church, and may God be more glorified in 2019 with your best preaching year yet!
This article originally appeared on ProPreacher.com.