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You have a ton of things to do every week, so wouldn’t it be great to have some super productive sermon writing time so you could put more time toward leading your church into the future? Reality is, sermon writing can be overwhelming when you have other major projects to worry about. It can feel like there’s not enough time to put toward meaningful preparation. But don’t worry anymore! There’s a way to get more productive in less time.

This combination has been tremendous for me. I write my messages out in full manuscript form and then boil it back down to preaching notes. Manuscripting your message can be time consuming so I wanted to limit that writing time as much as possible. Let’s jump in and become more productive in sermon writing!

3 Ingredients to Super Productive Sermon Writing

1. Outline

This first thing is vital if you also make it a point to manuscript your sermons. If you don’t and you use a detailed outline or something different, the principle is the same – have an idea of where you are going before you start the journey.

For me, outlining my message by using my sermon structure is extremely helpful in having super productive sermon writing time. It’s simple, and you may feel it’s too simple, but the results speak for themselves. When I outline my message first, my writing time significantly decreases. Why? Because I know what I am writing before I write. It’s a matter of filling in the gaps.

This could be as simple as a theme word or two for each part of your sermon. 

You can operate from a structure as simple as beginning, middle, and end.

Or you could use something like Andy Stanley’s me, we, God, you, we. 

Or use what I use.

Or come up with something different.

Once you have an outline structure, begin to fill in those parts with a word or two, or with a few sentences.

2. Brain.fm

Okay, you’re probably wondering, what in the world is brain.fm?! 

It’s the secret sauce to productive sermon writing. I found brain.fm around a month ago and have used it a ton since. Basically it is the result of neuroscientists using brain wave technology through music to help you focus more, relax more, or sleep more.

Here’s the crazy thing: it works!

You’re probably skeptical and I get it. I was too. But I gave it a shot. It actually works.

The unfortunate thing about brain.fm is that you only get 7 free sessions. After that it costs a few dollars a month. But I think it’s worth it considering how much it has helped me focus and write my sermons much quicker.

Here’s my challenge: just try it. If today is a sermon writing day for you, choose the focus option and click intense. 

Then combine it with the next thing.

3. Pomodoro Timer

Finding this productivity technique was a game-changer for me when it comes to sermon writing. It’s so easy to get distracted with anything while writing a sermon. I’m sure you’ve experienced the same thing.

So, to get you super focused and super productive, begin using a Pomodoro timer. 

The Pomodoro technique is simple: work on ONE thing for 25 minutes, then take a five minute break, then get back at it. But here’s the thing, don’t just try the technique without an actual Pomodoro timer. You’ll cheat. At least I would. 

You’d be amazed at how much you can accomplish in 25 minutes of focused time on one thing.

I personally use the Pomodora Challenge Timer

If you want to have more productive sermon writing time, this will prove to be the ingredient that keeps you disciplined.

Give This Recipe a Try

If you would admit that you could be more productive with your sermon writing, then what do you have to lose? Give this a shot. 

I want you to be able to be super productive and to be able to work on your major projects as well as write a great sermon. 

So, give this a shot and let me know how it is working!



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.

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C Jury

commented on May 20, 2016

Thank you for this article. I have used these tips in a more focused way and my last 2 sermons have been much more focused. The addition of the brain.fm has been tremendous. C. Jury

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