I’m a firm believer in learning from others and not re-inventing the wheel unless there is no wheel! I want to share some tools and strategies I have gleaned from others and by trial and error.
1. Team—A great tool in preparing a great message is having others to bounce ideas around with. At Cornerstone, we have a teaching team, and we meet on Monday mornings. We brainstorm about passages, illustrations, transitions and translations. It’s great fun and a huge time saver. It really allows the teaching pastor for that week to focus more on prayer and delivery. (Side note: It also is good if for some reason the scheduled speaker has an emergency and can’t speak; it is very easy for one of the other team members to step in since they helped to craft the message!) If your church isn’t large enough to pull a teaching team from your staff, you can team up with other pastors online or by Skype. If you build it, they will come!
2. Tech—Using good technology is a must if you desire to save time and increase the quality of your messages. There are several good ones out there; some work only or better on certain platforms, e.g., Mac or PC. Whichever you prefer, you really need a good stand-alone program that is NOT Web-based. You never know when you will be caught with your wi-fi pants down! I have used Word on a PC and Logos on my MAC, and there are others. They vary widely in price and content, but start with something!
3. Time for Prep—Schedule your time when you plan to do your sermon prep. Put it on your calendar like an appointment, and let nothing save Jesus Himself pull you away from that appointed time! There are many distractions, people and “emergencies” that the enemy will use to pull you away; don’t fall for it! At 11 on Sunday morning, you WILL regret it.
4. Time for Prayer—Schedule prayer time! This is the most important time, even more so than prep time! Remember, you are to speak as one speaking the very words of God. In order to speak His Words, you had better take the time to listen to His voice! Schedule it and put an alarm on your cell phone; that’s what I have to do!
Those are my essentials. Are there any that you are doing that you would care to share?