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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? 

Artie Davis is the Pastor of Cornerstone Church, Director of @TheSticks, and author of Craveable.

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Alexander Drysdale Lay Preacher Uca Australia

commented on May 24, 2014

In the churches I visit the congregations are quite small and technical aids are not always available. Whenever there are I tend to use a Power Point Presentation which I can take with me on a USB stick. This has always worked for me and as it is on a screen probably behind me I have to rely on the operator. Some of them are real gems. It also means that you do not lose eye contact with the congregation which is essential in any presentation of the Message.

Karl Frank

commented on May 24, 2014

Great read ! But I would and DO put his number four (4) my number one (1), .even before for team discussion. And at team discussion prayer SHOULD be number one, (1), FIRST before the discussion, by ALL attending.

Gordon Flanagan

commented on May 24, 2014

I believe you forgot the most important 'T'- Text. If I get up to deliver anything else I am no better than a motivational speaker. The worlds has tons of Tony Robbins types, what it hungers for and is dying for is the Truth of the Gospel.

Stephen Sance

commented on May 24, 2014

You are so right. To much motivational speaking and not enough expository preaching of Gods Word in churches today. People need to be led to Jesus and then taught what He expects of us believers. My motto is, "It is all about Jesus, so preach the Word."

Welt Krieger

commented on May 24, 2014

Or the Four T's could be 1. The Word, 2. The Word, 3. The Word, and 4. The Word. :)

Keith B

commented on May 24, 2014

One of these days, I'd love to see an article from a pastor that didn't have a team of 15 people to meet with and write his jokes, prepare his powerpoint, and do his research. Not all of us have those things.

Richard Scotland

commented on May 24, 2014

Good point. Having tried skype meetings, they are an interesting idea but nowhere near as good or effective as face to face. For me they were not a good use of my time.

Jo Vanh

commented on May 24, 2014

Does someone have a good example of first 2 points in the bible?

Richard Scotland

commented on May 24, 2014

Would Paul working with Timothy be an example of team work? And jokingly, for tech, there are most certainly mentions in the Bible of Apples, Windows, and for the purposes of a silly answer, surely there is some connection between Google and the Beast of Revelation!

commented on May 24, 2014

I find Artiie's four things to be a poor selection indeed and very concerning. Firstly to have sermon prep team is not a common experience. Frankly is it desirable for them to direct the sermon topic or content. That should be between the preacher and God. Technology, while useful is overrated and should not be upfront. To omit any reference to scriptures is another glaring omission. Problematic advice from Artie indeed. Lyall Phillips Australia

Richard Scotland

commented on May 24, 2014

Tech can be a good excuse for poor evangelism. I have seen that in churches. Good tech well used is a great thing but otherwise it is pointless. When my 9 year old kid can point out tech mistakes, then I am not convinced that the tech was necessary or useful. But my main reason for replying was to ask what would you have instead of Artie's four points?

Garren Walton

commented on May 25, 2014

I just want to thank Artie and sites like these that are bold enough to take time to try and help others. I too am a pastor of a small church so can't always relate to some points but hearing them can still inspire me. Just wanted to make the point that even though most people commenting seem to be negative, there are people reading that are being blessed by the articles. Keep it up.

Charles Wallis

commented on May 25, 2014

Perhaps it is assumed, but it seems great preaching would start with God's Word. And I agree with others having a team to meet with on Monday morning is not common for most pastors, although I think getting input from others should be considered. Tech can be helpful but can also be overwhelming for both the preacher and the congregation. Having plenty of prep time would be nice.

Jared D

commented on May 25, 2014

Wow, sometimes preachers can be the most cynical and critical crowd! This is simply a good article about some useful aids (title aside of course). Even in a small church point 1 can be helpful. I bounce ideas off of my wife first. I also have other friends who are preachers and we regularly discuss sermon topics, illustrations, etc. Point 2 is also useful. He was not talking about using technology in the delivery necessarily. He mentioned using MS Word! All he said was that it is an extremely useful aid to quickly getting the message together. Another good online tool is blueletterbible.org with access to commentaries, multiple Bible versions, etc. Points 3 and 4 are just good solid advice. Try reading the article without looking to rip it to shreds.

Juan Manuel Rodríguez Rivera

commented on May 26, 2014

Whatever to Do for send The Jesus message for lost people in the world. But In First place Time Prayer. That?s The clue, because is written:... But seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. Greetings from Bogot? Colombia.

Minister Sanders

commented on May 28, 2014

The first step in preparing the sermon is to pray and ask God to lead you through the holy Spirit. Next, Study God's Word using good hermaneutics and trusting the holy Spirit to give you guidance without allowing people or things of this world to distract you! When you prepare completely submissive to God's Will a great inspired truth filled Word from God will happen!!!!!

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