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preaching article Why Preparing A Sermon in 10 Minutes WIll Make You A Better Preacher

Why Preparing A Sermon in 10 Minutes WIll Make You A Better Preacher

based on 3 ratings
Oct 21, 2015
Scripture: none
(Suggest Scripture)


What if I told you that you could actually prepare a sermon in 10 minutes instead of 10 hours? Would you believe me? Would you write it off as resulting in a terrible message with no substance?

I’m sure you are skeptical, but just go with me. I’m always looking for ways to improve as a preacher. One thing I’ve started doing is preparing a message in 10 minutes every week. And not only do I prepare it, but I also deliver it. Every week – 10 minutes of sermon prep. And I believe this is making me become a better preacher.

Before you freak out, I am not talking about the Sunday morning sermon. I prepare and deliver this message every week on my podcast. Now, I want to make this clear: you don’t have to have a podcast in order to take advantage of this way to improve. In fact, you don’t even have to do it every week. Do it once a month, twice a month, whatever you want.


Why Preparing a Sermon in 10 Minutes Will Make You a Better Preacher

The idea behind taking only 10 minutes to prepare a sermon is to stretch yourself. Every week you preach, I’m sure you spend hours upon hours on your sermon preparation. And this isn’t a bad thing. But what preparing a message in 10 minutes does is it forces you to simplify your message. You end up thinking of ideas rather than full fledged paragraphs. You force your brain to get on its toes.

When you force yourself to create an engaging and impactful message in such a little amount of time, you’ll find that once you map out your next sermon for Sunday, you’ll have a much easier time thinking of illustrations, applications, and the overall flow of the message.

Preparing a sermon in 10 minutes will force you to have a rhyme to your sermon prep reason. You’ll be forced to come up with a consistent structure to your message that you’ll generally follow. I’ve fleshed out the way I create sticky sermons that are purpose-filled and action-driven. For the sake of my 10 minute sermon prep, I use the exact structure you see to the left. This is a picture of what I use to prepare and deliver these messages on my podcast.

Once you get to the point of delivering this message, you’ll want to just let it go and start preaching. If you are used to manuscripting your message out and depending on those notes throughout your delivery, you’ll find that this is going to be a stretch. But I think it’ll be a good stretch.
How to Do it

1. Read and understand the text you are preaching from.

2. Decide what your one point will be.

3. Ask yourself how this passage goes against our assumptions, way of life, actions, etc.

4. Think of a way to engage.

5. Decide how you will build tension in light of #3.

6. Use #2 to flesh out a practical application and action step.

7. If we don’t take heed to the application and inspiration, what is at stake? Use this to build some sort of inspiration at the end.

8. Write down a word or phrase under each heading.

9. Preach it! (I keep my message to 15 minutes when I do this.)
This is About Practice

I am not advocating that you throw out your weekly sermon prep process. What I am advocating is that you stretch yourself in a different venue, whether that be delivering this in a podcast or simply to yourself. I’ve decided to do this every week, but that doesn’t mean you have to. Just decide what will work best for you. I do this on my off day or late at night or early in the morning in the fringe hours of my day.

I believe that preparing a sermon in 10 minutes will make you into a better preacher. Will you try it? Just once? What would it hurt? If you enjoy preaching, you’ll find that this way of practicing is a lot of fun!



Brandon Kelley serves at a fast-growing church plant in Batavia, Ohio (east side of Cincinnati) called The Crossing in the role of Outreach & Communications Pastor. He loves to learn and write about preaching and leadership. Connect with him on Twitter.

Talk about it...

R Daniel Hammond avatar
R Daniel Hammond
0 days ago
REALLY!?!?! That is all you give to God's Holy Word to speak to people from God? This approach seems to be Christianity Lite. Desire the "meat" of the Word.
R Daniel Hammond avatar
R Daniel Hammond
0 days ago
Ralph Cain avatar
Ralph Cain
0 days ago
I guess we are moving toward TED talks for worship.
Fred Miller avatar
Fred Miller
0 days ago
This is good advice. It forces me to focus, simplify and emphasize specifically in the early stages of my prep. That being done, my time is much more effectively invested in honing, and developing the scope and sequence of a focused message.
Jan Loyd avatar
Jan Loyd
0 days ago
This is awesome! I'm assuming it can work for teaching a women's bible study group...I'll try it. Thanks, neighbor (I live in the Dayton area southeast :) )
Ronald Johnson avatar
Ronald Johnson
0 days ago
Great suggestion. I will give it a try. For those who have complained that this is Christianity Lite, or a TED Talk for worship, you need to read the whole article. He suggests doing this for a podcast, not for the Sunday sermon. He specifically says, "I am not advocating that you throw out your weekly sermon prep process. What I am advocating is that you stretch yourself in a different venue, whether that be delivering this in a podcast or simply to yourself." His suggestion here might be a great way to do a midweek social media connect with the church. I serve a church that draws from about a 20 mile radius. It is very difficult for many of the people to get to the church twice a week. This could serve as a great way to be able to reach them during the week, and if you use the right social media, you can even start conversations with it.
Daniel Leavitt avatar
Daniel Leavitt
0 days ago
Love it! I have often thought I over prepared a message that turns into a theological lecture more than a move of God's spirit. Sometimes less is more and to be honest more of God's spirit and less of my pontifications is better for everyone. Here is a way I think we should all try at least once to prepare a sermon. Monday- relax and refresh with family and friends. Tuesday go downtown and share the good news with homeless people as well as CEOs and everyone else. Pray first and be ready to give a biblical answer to every question. Weds. repeat. Thursday repeat, Friday repeat. Sat write down the amazing highlights of the week both good and bad. Sunday you will have lots of stories to share and lots of scriptures that apply.
E L Zacharias avatar
E L Zacharias
0 days ago
I think this can be helpful, as a step in the homiletic process. Pastors might have already done this when they have made a visit to one of their members, using the opportunity to summarize what they've been working up for Sunday. In the process, the pastor might find their outline successful or in need of repair.
Lawrence Webb avatar
Lawrence Webb
0 days ago
The janitor and supervisor of our dishwashing machine crew in my college dining hall told this story, to most of us studying for the ministry: An evangelist told the crowd at the end of a revival service one night: Eat a bowl of corn flakes before you come hear me preach tomorrow night. That way, when the service is over, you won't have anything on your stomach or on your mind. That evangelist probably planned to spend ten minutes preparing for the next night's sermon.
Harry Nelson avatar
Harry Nelson
0 days ago
I'll admit initial skepticism, but I think after reading and pondering, I'd put it in the category of, "Don't knock it until you try it"! I had a professor who believed for every minute you planned to preach, you should spend an hour in preparation. I think I'd agree with what I took from Daniel's comment. Sharing God's love and living in his presence is pretty significant preparation.
Darryl Ward avatar
Darryl Ward
0 days ago
I personally disagree with the the idea you can prepare a sermon in 10 minutes. I don't like to simply take the text at face value; I prefer to delve a bit deeper, consider the cultural and historical contexts of the text, and consider what it is saying to us today. And I cannot read the texts (possibly in multiple translations) and compare and consider other accounts of the text I am preaching on (i.e. consult a synopsis if I am preaching on a gospel text) in 10 minutes, let alone confirm the meanings of any problematic words, and consult a commentary or commentaries.
Darryl Ward avatar
Darryl Ward
0 days ago
I personally disagree with the the idea you can prepare a sermon in 10 minutes. I don't like to simply take the text at face value; I prefer to delve a bit deeper, consider the cultural and historical contexts of the text, and consider what it is saying to us today. And I cannot read the texts (possibly in multiple translations) and compare and consider other accounts of the text I am preaching on (i.e. consult a synopsis if I am preaching on a gospel text) in 10 minutes, let alone confirm the meanings of any problematic words, and consult a commentary or commentaries.
Patrice Marker-Zahler avatar
Patrice Marker-Zahler
0 days ago
The people the that know how always work for the people that know why. It does not seem you yet understand why you spend time in God's Word, digging deeper and doing cross references. God did not ask that the delivery of His word be simple, it is to accurate.
Tony Bland avatar
Tony Bland
0 days ago
I agree hole heartedly with you. Let me ask this question; has anyone, but me ever show up at a 3:30 program only to learn you must bring the message? Well you got the song, offering and two minute of prayer time or about 10 minutes. Good that the bible teaches if we would get it in us, god will get it out when needed. Guys learn a system and this one looks good.
Michael Moore avatar
Michael Moore
0 days ago
Great idea! I agree with part of Daniel's suggestion with the exception that we are commanded to "preach the word" and Jesus did command Peter to "feed my sheep". In order to do that, we must dig deeply into the word of God. I think what this brother is doing is giving us a great method of condensing our theologically drenched sermons into inspired messages from Heaven! Substitute a little sermonization with a lot of inspiration with some information mixed in! I think we, our people and the kingdom of God will benefit from a lot of this suggestion! I am game for some of this application for certain!

So, what did you think?


Thank you.