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Preaching to God’s people is a massive honor. Glacial. Shepherding through the proclaimed word is one of my greatest joys and challenges. I am humbled that people at Redeemer Church actually come back—that anyone comes back.

I used to always enter the pulpit with outline in hand, but no longer. I now preach from a full manuscript—2,500 words or so.

Why did I make the change? Three reasons.

1. Humility

It all began with a blog series by Josh Harris where he posted sermon notes/manuscripts from various preachers.

Some of the great preachers of our day use manuscripts. I had no idea. Mark Dever, Ray Ortlund,C.J. Mahaney, John Piper — all of them are manuscript guys. It seemed that the preachers with thousands of miles on their tires typically wrote a manuscript.

This left me scratching my head and thinking, “Why don’t I manuscript? These guys are heroes of mine. They must know something I don’t.”

I then noticed that the hyper-gifted pastors of our day and of old: Spurgeon, Driscoll, and Chandler — are outline guys. Again, I began to think, “I’m most definitely not at their level of gifting. Why in the world am I outlining?”

I came to the conclusion: I need a manuscript.

Outlining was I all knew. I didn’t know there was another reputable way. If am I honest, I sneered at the idea of a manuscript. It seemed like a crutch.

A crutch that I needed.

Here’s the deal, this may not be true of you, but it was of me, I was outlining because I subtly thought I might be as gifted as my heroes—but I was in the embryo stage. “Just give me time. Trust me.” Or maybe I knew I wasn’t as gifted, but hey, maybe I’ll turn out to be. Both are stinky.

I had to confess my pride and be “ok” with manuscripting. It didn’t mean I would be less of a preacher. Nor was it going to stifle the work of the Spirit. Rubbish. Have you been blessed by the preaching of Piper or Ortlund? Duh.

I was writing an outline from pride and avoiding a manuscript because of pride. Solution? Repent—and write a manuscript.

And boy, I’m glad I made the switch.

The first descent from the stage, after breaking the manuscript in, my wife leaned over and said, “Do that every week.”

Done deal.

And that leads to the second reason why I ditched the outline and stayed with a manuscript.

2. Sermons with Pop and Bite

This discipline—I assure you, it is a discipline!—improved my preaching.

Writing a manuscript allows me to play with sentences and words days before I preach, not seconds like in an outline. Preparing a manuscript lets me retool and fortify sentences for their maximum human delivery. Manuscripting lets me work with fresh and new ways to say the same thing, as opposed to saying the same thing in the same way—over and over and over.

Outline preaching, from a shallow well of knowledge, will scrape for words in the preaching moment. And this can tend to many “umms” and “uhhhs”, or you’ll repeat yourself—often. But this can be lessened, nearly eliminated, with a manuscript.

Instead of trying to figure out how to say something in the moment, manuscripting enables me to think of many ways to say a phrase, point, or story, etc.

“Dog Story” in an outline, can turn into a powerful anecdote with exact language to weave throughout the sermon.

Preaching from an outline provides guides and cues; but I will wander from the path, chase something, and maybe wind up in trouble. Been there. Done that. Got the T-shirt. No bueno.

A manuscript helps me know exactly where I am headed, how I’m getting there, and what I plan to say on the way there. All the verses I want to reference are there and won’t be forgotten. I’ll think of others while preaching, and I’ll quote those too.

The manuscript is your friend, not the Gestapo.

Writing a manuscript has improved my preaching, especially my desired time frame.

I’m not captivating enough—if at all—to hold a crowd for fifty minutes to an hour. Forty minutes is my goal. Thirty-five would be better. Writing a manuscript provides a word count. And by trial and error, I know my ‘word count to sermon length’ ratio. 3,000 words is too long. For this reason alone, I’m sure Redeemer Church is grateful for the manuscript!

If you think that a manuscript will hurt your delivery; don’t let it. Pretty simple.

Be familiar with your manuscript. Read it multiple times. By the time to preach, I have probably read my sermon five times. I’ve labored in the writing, editing, formatting (bolding, highlighting, etc.), and preparing my Keynote slides. By Sunday, I know my manuscript pretty well.

Be so familiar with your manuscript that you could preach without it—but won’t.

3. Readily Transferable

I don’t know how many times someone has asked for my sermon notes, and until I had a manuscript, with every reply I felt like a dunce.

“Well, I guess I could give them to you, though they wouldn’t help you much. It’s just an outline.”

Wow. That’s helpful. *Facepalm*.

But by having a manuscript I can provide a helpful resource. And now we are able to post my manuscript along side the sermon audio on our church website.

Say you get invited to preach somewhere on the book of Jonah. Hey—lookie there!—you already have sermons ready. You’ve already spent the hours in exegesis, reading, illustrating, and applying the text. You’re ready to rock-n’-roll.

So. . .What Are You Waiting For?

When I have a busy week, sure I regret being committed to writing a manuscript—but I don’t regret it Sunday afternoon. I’m glad I made the switch.

What do you think? What do you use and why?

Lead Pastor of Redeemer Church (Acts 29). He is pursuing his M.Div at Southern Seminary. He and Natalie have one precious little girl, Ivy. Jeff digs caffeinated drinks, books, and the Triune God.

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David Buffaloe

commented on Jul 17, 2012

I thought I was the only one to use manuscripts. Thanks for the article. I have long believed that the Word is to be cherished, handled carefully, and I do that with the manuscript.

Jason Reynolds

commented on Jul 17, 2012

I had no idea anyone else preached from a manuscript. I spend hours ever week doing this. Hours! Then other pastors see I have a manuscript and roll their eyes or make snide remarks. I've NEVER read or heard anyone support manuscripts so well. Thanks Jeff!

Keith B

commented on Jul 17, 2012

I've personally noticed that when I read a large passage, I do not look at my audience. If I were to manuscript my sermon I think it would be one step above me just videotaping myself and having an elder play the recording. Those of you that find that it works for you...good on you. That's great. We all have our own styles and methods--as we found out a few days ago in the article about how one pastor goes about preparing his sermon.

Bob Bankhead

commented on Jul 17, 2012

Manuscript is the only way for me. I have used it for over 27 years of ministry. I appreciate the well written article and the affirmation. Thanks!!!

Mark Opseth

commented on Jul 17, 2012

I, too, only use manuscripts, but that doesn't mean I'm simply reading the sermon to the congregation. The manuscript ensures I say things correctly and stay on course.

Michael Deutsch

commented on Jul 17, 2012

I have used manuscripts for the past 15 years. Occasionally I use an outline. A reminder about manuscripts, I don't have to follow it word for word, I adlib, I allow the Spirit to lead me and I am free to make changes. However, using the manuscript helps me to stay focused on what I was going to say. It's a matter of style and comfortability.

Sheldon Boyd

commented on Jul 17, 2012

I have been using a manuscript all 27 years of ministry. My wife rejoices that about 25 years ago I started typing them myself :). I read the sermon over each evening when I go to bed then I actually preach the message out loud on Saturday and and then again early Sunday AM before the service.

Keith B

commented on Jul 17, 2012

Sheldon and Michael....if you have a manuscript and deviate from it...how do you get back on track? What do you do to keep your place? I have personally found that if my notes are too detailed I lose my place too easily and there is "dead air" time while I try to figure out where I was.

Walter Braxton

commented on Jun 15, 2017

Brother, Just trust what you wrote. For the first 10 times you do it don't deviate, read exactly what you wrote. It will amaze you. Don't dazzle and impress, just read what you wrote. Also, I color one line black and the other red and follow that pattern throughout the message. It helps keep me on track.

Keith B

commented on Jul 17, 2012

So Jon....you say write a manuscript, but then don't necessarily use it in the pulpit? Use it to put your thoughts together ahead of time? I get it. I had a prof that said he'd manuscript everything, then go in a room of just himself and a mirror for 2 hours to memorize it.

Michael Deutsch

commented on Jul 17, 2012

K b - We have people who run media shout and show my notes as I move through the sermon. They know I will deviate, but I use my manuscript to help me find where I deviated. It's a little like my security blanket. When I move off the manuscript, I am comfortable with a second or two of silence as I get back to the manuscript.

Michael Deutsch

commented on Jul 17, 2012

K b - When reading a large passage of scripture, I have it bolder and in a different font so it stands out for me. I use a finger to guide me and try to look at the congregation as I read it. We also have people looking at the screens and reading it as well. So, they are not as focused on me.

Michael Deutsch

commented on Jul 17, 2012

K b - I'd be happy to talk to you about manuscripts and what I do if you want. Let me know, my email is michael.deutsch@alexfbc.com

Jon Pierce

commented on Jul 17, 2012

Let me give you more examples of those who write manuscripts: the late great Stephen Olford, John Stott, John MacArthur, Charles Stanley, and Andy Stanley. Of course, there are many others. And not all manuscript writing preachers necessarily take a full manuscript to the pulpit. But they consistently write one out (sometimes weeks in advance) and know it well enough (having given it time to perfectly crystallize within them) that an outline/notes will do while preaching. In fact, most great homiletics professors insist on a manuscript for optium clarity (e.g., Haddon Robinson). So, keep it up brother!

Sheila Bowling

commented on Jul 17, 2012

Thank you so much. I too thought that I was the only one that used a manuscript. Thank you for a great article. The manuscript is not to be read, but just to be used as a guide on where you are going. The sermon itself must be a part of you first, and then it's more confidently delivered as being the way the Spirit of the Lord would have it to be in my opinion.

Sheila Bowling

commented on Jul 17, 2012

Thank you so much. I too thought that I was the only one that used a manuscript. Thank you for a great article. The manuscript is not to be read, but just to be used as a guide on where you are going. The sermon itself must be a part of you first, and then it's more confidently delivered as being the way the Spirit of the Lord would have it to be in my opinion.

Steven Schnedler

commented on Jul 17, 2012

Great article! I have always pretty much used a manuscript although I've had pressure not to so I could just "let the Spirit flow". I have found out that the Spirit flows just fine with a manuscript as long as I have let Him flow during the creation of it and I am sensitive to any changes He desires during its delivery.

Sam Schmidt

commented on Jul 17, 2012

While I appreciate this article, I find manuscripts (in my personal style) to be a crutch. And a bad one at that. The reality of the situation is you ARE NOT John Piper, Mark Dever, Ray Ortlund, or Charles Spurgeon. You are Jeff Medders. And God created you to fit your preaching style. It's good to take notes and ideas from others, but to change delivery methods because your "heroes" do something different? That seems very self-reliant. You are a bright young man with a bright future but when you can freely move to and fro with making eye contact with the audience and are able to move from the pulpit, your sermons will be a lot more personal. Peter didn't take a manuscript to Pentecost, Paul didn't take one to the synagogue and Stephen didn't read from one when he was stoned to death. I'm sure Christ didn't use one at the Olivet discourse. Those men are my "heroes." When I have a manuscript, I am a mindless robot, easily lose my place, cannot make eye contact and am forced behind a pulpit in a very stiff impersonal manner speaking the thoughts and musings of Sam Schmidt. When I have an outline, or just hours and hours of study time with no notes (the greatest adrenaline rush you will ever experience) the Holy Spirit moves in a mighty way.

Paul Wallace

commented on Jul 17, 2012

This is exactly the way I've prepared and delivered the sermon, even down to the length, for the last 15 years. Can't tell you how many people have told me I need to preach without notes. No way! BTW - the manuscripts can be edited into books!

Pastor Sandy .

commented on Jul 17, 2012

Thanks for this well-written confirmation that it is OK to use a script. I have always done this. I do a lot of guest speaking, and the first thing I look for is the placement of the podium - has to be the right height - and most folks don't realize I use a MS. If I wish to quote someone verbatim, it's there. Scripture quotes - it's there. You need to practice in order that you do not appear to be reading - it's an art. May God bless your efforts in obtaining your M.Div.

Jeff Eppinette

commented on Jul 17, 2012

I know ministers who preach from outlines, index cards and manuscripts. I believe it all comes down to how our brain works and how God works with us to provide inspiration. My inspiration comes when I am spending the time studying and writing; with others it is at the moment of delivery. Of course, there are always exceptions when I get inspired at time of delivery and supplement my notes. As far as being "one step above me just videotaping myself", I can read ahead a sentence or two VERY QUICKLY (as in a brief glance) while I'm talking and then continue looking the audience in the eye. I do believe it comes down to the style each minister can adapt to the best. Human diversity within God's parameters is a good thing!

Gary Greene

commented on Jul 17, 2012

I wish to "amen" what Stephen Schnedler said. If the Spirit is going to say something through me, He is powerful and wise enough to put it into my preparation time. He doesn't need to (and I don't expect Him to) wait until the delivery time and "spring it" on me.

Edson Siwella

commented on Jul 17, 2012

Was it Dr Bryan Williams. . . good teacher told a story of a Preacher in Hyde Park. . armed with all his notes, preaching there. The wind kept blowing his paper notes and he had to stop and get organused for next (read) sentece. Then somebody called form the crowd "Hey, Mister if you can't remember your message how do you expect us to?"

Stephen Taylor

commented on Jul 17, 2012

Interesting that your article appears today. Just read another article from a different site that details the steps to take from manuscript to no notes. As many have stated.. use what works for you.

David Buffaloe

commented on Jul 17, 2012

Wow Edson - push the post button only once. Seriously though, the purpose of the sermon is to glorify God, to feed the flock, to rebuke sin, and to point to the glorious Gospel of Christ. Each preacher and each Pastor is God called to where they are, and God equipped for what they do. Whether you preach without notes, with notes, or with a manuscript, as long as God is being glorified, the flock is being fed, sin is being rebuked, and the Gospel is being preached, then "His Word will not come back void".

Keith B

commented on Jul 17, 2012

hey guys...just a thought, but don't refresh the page after posting...that's what causes multiple posts. Follow the link off of the email, or come in through the website.

Michael Barrett

commented on Jul 17, 2012

I use both. I write a manuscript first and create an outline from that. I know that is backwards but that is just how I do it. I was never able to write an essay in school from an outline. I always wrote the paper first then created the outline from the paper. I will often expand my outline from the manuscript on any catchy phrases I want to use or any particular story/illustration I want to get just right. It boils down to whatever works for you - however God directs you. On another note - Have you ever entered the pulpit and God changed your message - right then? It has happened to me. My notes became gibberish and I just put them away and went the way God directed me. This only happens when I fight God over the message I want bring. If I bring the message He wants this never happens. But I have that one sermon that I just want to preach and God doesn't want it preached - yet. God Bless.

Gary Greene

commented on Jul 17, 2012

As Stephen, the previous commentor, mentioned, there was an article encouraging us to try going noteless (yesterday's e-mail from SermonCentral.com) and now an article encouraging taking a full outline into the pulpit. That illustrates that we really need to find what works for each speaker. BUT, in the article on going noteless, it was highlighted that you still need to write out what you are going to say, or at least extensive notes on what you are going to say. It occurs to me that a person that likes to preach with a sparse outline or without notes would still benefit from the ideas in this article on manuscript preaching: 1) be humble enough to realize that you cannot be an effective preacher without extensive preparation, 2) take the time to craft the sentences you are going to use for the greatest effect without repetition of words or phrases that make you a boring preacher (that doesn't mean you can't have a "key word" or "key phrase" that you intend to repeat for emphasis) and 3) having written a manuscript, whether you take it to the pulpit or not, provides that substantive handout for those who need it or for website posting.

Jeff Medders

commented on Jul 17, 2012

Great thoughts everyone!! As has been said, each preacher should do what is best for them. Let me add one thing too. When I preach from the manuscript, I'm not staring down my iPad and giving no eye contact, like I'm reading from a book. I look down periodically, but I'm looking at the saints and my notes. I look down, look up, and cruise along. Sometimes, I can walk from behind the pulpit, usually in our second service, because I am so familiar with what is in the manuscript. Love the discussion! Thanks for the encouraging words that many of you have sent. Blessings!

Mark Moala

commented on Jul 17, 2012

Much appreciate your article Jeff. I am bless to partake in a youth service next week and to also pass on His message. With much lack of experience and a tonne load of love and passion to serve our God, your article has given me great comfort on the journey ahead. Thank you

Mark Moala

commented on Jul 17, 2012

Much appreciate your article Jeff. I am bless to partake in a youth service next week and to also pass on His message. With much lack of experience and a tonne load of love and passion to serve our God, your article has given me great comfort on the journey ahead. Thank you

Mark Moala

commented on Jul 17, 2012

Much appreciate your article Jeff. I am bless to partake in a youth service next week and to also pass on His message. With much lack of experience and a tonne load of love and passion to serve our God, your article has given me great comfort on the journey ahead. Thank you

Edson Siwella

commented on Jul 17, 2012

Thanks David for the advice.Here's something to aim for: to preach as the LORD JESUS CHRIST preached. One thing I have learnt is that in Him the MESSAGE and the MESSENGER are ONE. Yes much preparation, much prayer, much manuscpting, much waiting on the Lord and let the sermon be in the heart, let the preacher LIVE it. . . "the Word become flesh" (Jn1:14). . and the sheep will hear the SHEPHERD, "full of grace and truth"(Jn1:16). Memorise one's manuscript -yes. . . and the qoutations too - yes. No I do not 'see' any notes in the Master Preacher of Matthew 5. . or Peter at Pentecost (he did not even have time to check references!!!). . .nor in Paul's hands. . . No I have not yet myself attained to this messenger=message level. . .but I strive for it . . constantly reducing whatever write ups or manuscripts I have. . .and with present video recording, cellphone recording why need a whole written paper!!!?

Edson Siwella

commented on Jul 17, 2012

I once heard this story: . . universoty Pro used to record his lecture, send the garden boy to the Lecture Hall. . .100 students listen, take notes etc. . . end of lecture garden boy swith tape off. . . end of class.. . . until one day one student brought his own tape recorder. . . when garden boy switched Prof tape machine, student switched on his own. . and student left Hall. Another student did the same. . then they all did the same. In the end Lecture hall had 1 gardedn boy and 100 tape recorders!!! . . . a sermon. . . no a SERMON is a TOTAL EXPERIENCE!!!! Word, flesh, LIVE!!!

Warren Tillman

commented on Jul 17, 2012

I throughly enjoyed your article. I have always used manuscripts. I start with my outline, then flesh it out, being careful how I word each phrase. What I enjoy the most is after working through an outline, fleshing it into a manuscript, and am ready to "Preach", the Holy Spirit leads and guides me. When I am finished I realize how little I used my manuscript and how much the Holy Spirit lead me!

Keith Rockefeller

commented on Jul 17, 2012

In the pastorate I found these observations to be true. Using a manuscript kept me from wandering off topic, and allowed me to better craft sentences or words for maximum effect. I appreciate the affirmation.

Elizabeth Walker

commented on Jul 17, 2012

Yet another good reason: if there are people with cognitive difficulties, giving them a manuscript is a huge help; people who are either Deaf or hearing impaired. They are a tremendous ministry tool for people in nursing homes, shut-ins etc. Tape ministries are good but useless for the hard of hearing. Finally, they are a tremendous tool for outreach. I have been preaching from a sermon manuscript for 13 years, but only providing manuscripts for 12. I used to worry people would read them before I preached it, purely a matter of pride. I got over it.

Jonathan Ventham

commented on Jul 17, 2012

there's an old tale of the young pastor preaching his 1st sermon at his 1st ever church and he made the fatal mistake of saying to the congregation that he was open to critique - please feel free. After the service, on older brother came up to him to do just that. 'Son', the old man said, 'three things about your sermon. #1 it was too long; #2 you read it; #3 it wasn't worth reading!' That said, I too am a manuscript preacher but I divide the message into clear sections to allow for ad-libbing and also limit it to 2500 words. they say 2500 words = 30 minutes at a 'normal' steady speaking pace. Most people switch off after 20 minutes anyway, especially in today's society. If one needs more than 20-30 minutes to say something, is it really worth saying ? ?

Mattie Matthews

commented on Jul 17, 2012

Thanks for the inspiring article, I have always used manuscripts I found it to be the best way to stay with the text and expand on the different components in the text. I believe you can capture both the profound and prolific as well as the beginner, give the revelation of the text and break it down in explanation for the newly converted.

David Buffaloe

commented on Jul 17, 2012

As to whether Jesus, the Apostle Paul, or Peter "took notes" or "wrote manuscripts", it is patently evident that they wrote manuscripts. These became the letters that compose our Bible. The argument has been made that Peter didn't use notes when he preached on Pentecost. Peter also didn't preach in a Church building, under florescent lighting, nor did he have hymnals nor a choir, a baptistery, pews, powerpoint, or even Deacons, etc, etc. You get the point. Paper was very expensive and hard to come by in Peter's day, not much in ours. If it helps someone glorify God then do it. If you're doing it to glorify yourself, don't do it.

Michael Millican

commented on Jul 17, 2012

I've always used manuscripts. It helps to internalize the message before it is time for delivery.

David Buffaloe

commented on Jul 17, 2012

As to Jonathan Ventham's question, "If one needs more than 20-30 minutes to say something, is it really worth saying ? ?": Absolutely if it is God's Word. During the Revival of Nehemiah 8:3 the Word of God was "read aloud from daybreak till noon as he faced the square before the Water Gate in the presence of the men, women and others who could understand. And all the people listened attentively to the Book of the Law." They listened attentively for 6 hours. The fact that American Christians are dull of hearing should not cause us to cater to their dullness by shortchanging the sermon. A preacher once told me "everyone's time is valuable" to which I replied "there will be plenty of time to ignore God in hell. Frankly, I don't want to be the cause of sending anyone there."

Jonathan Ventham

commented on Jul 17, 2012

david - it wasn't a question - I just did the 3x dots and it cam out as a question mark . . . . and maybe in Nehemiah's day people had a longer attention span ;) American preachers are known for their long-windedness - here is Australia you need to be a pretty 'up there' speaker to hold someone's attention for 45 minutes to an hour. The longest I've ever preached is 35 minutes. most of the recorded preaches in the NT would cover less than that I suspect. that said, me late American friend Mike Wells was known to speak for up to 80 minutes, but that was in a teaching situation - he's only ever preach in a church for 30 minutes tops

Jonathan Ventham

commented on Jul 17, 2012

david - it wasn't a question - I just did the 3x dots and it cam out as a question mark . . . . and maybe in Nehemiah's day people had a longer attention span ;) American preachers are known for their long-windedness - here is Australia you need to be a pretty 'up there' speaker to hold someone's attention for 45 minutes to an hour. The longest I've ever preached is 35 minutes. most of the recorded preaches in the NT would cover less than that I suspect. that said, me late American friend Mike Wells was known to speak for up to 80 minutes, but that was in a teaching situation - he's only ever preach in a church for 30 minutes tops

Michael Morton

commented on Jul 17, 2012

A few thoughts on manuscript preaching. Most complaints I hear about elderly preachers (me) is they lose focus during the sermon and wonder of topic and can't find their way back. Manuscripts eliminate that problem. Manuscripts let us know how long our sermon is going to be; when you have multiple services this is very important. Most southerners talk at about 100/wpm. When you practice your manuscript you can time yourself and then ad a few minutes because you always speak a little slower in the pulpit and do make more emphasis as you preach than when you practice. Practical stuff: if you us printed paper fold up bottom left hand corner of each page, it gives you a tab to move pages so you aren't fooling with paper and licking your fingers. I set my sermon template with tab stops at .25 inch. I tab each line and and begin a new sequence at each sentence or thought. That helps me be able to glance at a whole page and know what is on it. If you use a manuscript make every effort to maintain contact; this is an absolute must. If people listening to your sermon know you are using a manuscript by your preaching then maybe you should try an outline. My best preacher friend can write a note or two in the palm of his hand and preach a great sermon while I must work like the author of this article. If God's people are reached the method is insignificant.

Steven Schnedler

commented on Jul 17, 2012

Great article! I have always pretty much used a manuscript although I've had pressure not to so I could just "let the Spirit flow". I have found out that the Spirit flows just fine with a manuscript as long as I have let Him flow during the creation of it and I am sensitive to any changes He desires during its delivery.

Cameron Buchanan

commented on Jul 17, 2012

Great article! I too work with a manuscript as a preacher. This was not always the case, but when I began the transition from youth ministry to senior ministry I was encouraged by a mentor to try it. I now have a pretty strict routine with my manuscript presentation. First I aim to have me sermon typed out by Wednesday, which then gives me all day Thursday to visit my elderly home-bound members on Thursday and do all my youth ministry related ministry on the Friday! On Saturday night I practise it out and finalise my PowerPoint work to suit any changes I have made. On game day I present it with my iPad in front of me and the text set at 18 font. This helps me simply move past my notes as I pace and be able to read them as I go! I am a 30 minute man at the pulpit and I speak at a pace of about 100 words a minute, therefore a 3000 word manuscript is usually where I go. In terms of 'spirit led' elements, they do happen, and I will present them from the notepad as they are when I write them, mainly to show the church these particular bits are not made up of manufactured, but pertinent to people in the audience that day. And on a bit of a side-note, when people ask about the flighty 'spirit-led' elements of church, I often respond with this statement: 'It's my job, you as a church employed me to be a Spirit-led person. You expect me to seek the voice of Jesus all week on their behalf, and to speak on Sunday the result of this interaction I have had with the Lord! As a result, my manuscript which was written out by Wednesday and revisited on Saturday, is pretty close to the mark of what I feel the Spirit wants to say to the church today!'

Edson Siwella

commented on Jul 17, 2012

Daivid _ you wrote: "As to whether Jesus, the Apostle Paul, or Peter "took notes" or "wrote manuscripts", it is patently evident that they wrote manuscripts. These became the letters that compose our Bible." Are you sure of this? Anyevidence? Maybe it is safer t say that the Lord JESUS was(is) the Word. . . oh and yes the time He spent in prayer in hearing the Father (Jn 5:29) and then spoke. . . :the words that I speak they are Spirit and tey are life" (Jn 6:63) We do well to strive to be like the Master preacher. . have the script in our heart, deliver as from the heart. . time time in , seeking His message, meditation; expository study. . if, keep in before the delivery, I cannot keep even half of my sermon in my heart. . why. . maybe I cannot even keep God's Word. Know what: seems to me IF the sermon came from the Lord. . He makes it easy for us (preacher and audience) to keep it. Problem is many preach their own sermons. . . .

Michael Dissmore

commented on Jul 18, 2012

I use a manuscript for all the reasons given in the article. I too have had pressure from a few parishioners to preach without notes. Coincidentally, they also watch a lot of TV preachers who are either A) Gifted, B) Reading from a teleprompter, or C) All fluff and no stuff. I once sat under the preaching of a man who had once been an evangelist and had a handfull of rehearsed sermons which he delivered very well. When he became a pastor, over time, without notes, all of his sermons started to sound exactly the same regardless of the title or opening text.

James E Clark Jr

commented on Jul 18, 2012

Great article Jeff I too use a manuscript coming from an outline and the main reason I switched is because I know my heart. A lot of people say preaching from one hinders the Spirit and that's just not true, if anything it keeps you focused on the message the Lord as given you. Lets be honest if we wanted to we could jump off a hundred different rabbit trails in any given sermon. Plus as you implied doing a manuscript helps you own your sermon in writing and reading it through and even preaching it before Sunday.

Larry Jelley

commented on Jul 18, 2012

Good article. I have been preaching about 30 years and started using a full manuscript 8 years ago. It works well for me. My sermons are usually 2500-3000 words. I print my lesson out using large print and spacing to make it easier to glance at. I also use only the top half of each page. I end up with about 25 pages. After I preach the lesson I take the printed copy to a nursing home where it is passed around.

Stephen Summers

commented on Jul 19, 2012

I think both are great depending upon the person. For me personally if you are preaching the text then that is your manuscript and if you stick to the text then it's pretty hard to get lost or lose your place. Just my two shekels. God Bless

Clarence Lawson

commented on Jul 31, 2012

I would love to use Manuscripts. It's tough for me... I speak from outline on sunday morning, usually a sermon series. Sunday Evening, expository teaching through various Books of the Bible, right now Revelation. Wednesday Evening another outline usually topical. If I only had one sermon each week I could see me doing a Manuscript.

Hershel Strickland

commented on Jul 18, 2013

I use manuscript form because I find that as I have aged and come back from a stroke, my memory is just not as good as it once was. I stay focused and say the things the Lord has laid on my heart and can preach the Word better and more efficiently. I used to use outlines, but switched to manuscripts when I realized I was leaving out things the Lord had laid on my heart earlier in the week. And someone is always requesting a copy to send to their father or mother or daughter or friend, so I have it available immediately or if I have already given it out, I can print another out and give them one.

Robert Walderman

commented on Jun 9, 2017

I have always used a manuscript. It helps me stay focused and not forget to say those really important things. It also helps in crafting the sermon. I do not stand there and read it, but I am familiar enough with what I wrote, it almost works as an outline so I stay engaged with the congregation. I don't think there is a right or wrong method as long as the truth of Scripture is preached, the people are 'feed' and challenged and Christ is glorified. Thanks for the article.

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