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!