Many preachers have preached sermons that were not prepared from making use of sermon planning. Often the sermon lands us in Flunkersville and we resolve never to be in this position again. However, the next worship service approaches so quickly and the other demands of ministry and life force us to yet another sermon that we did not prepare adequately.
But, there is a way around this. It is called Sermon Planning which is the first step in my own homiletic program called Supercharge Your Sermons. In this article I want to give five benefits for Sermon Planning that I hope will convince you that this needs to be done in your own preaching ministry.
1) Sermon Planning helps us to make more economical use of our time
One of the questions that I often receive is: “how can we plan our sermons when we don’t have enough time to prepare sermons?” What the questioner doesn’t realize is that in the grand scheme of things, sermon planning helps us to make greater use of our time.
A good sermon plan first of all allows preachers to prepare at all times. When you are in the grocery checkout line, you can think about either the next sermon or any sermon that you have in your plan. Illustrations come to mind at any time. You can capture them rather than simply forcing them to fit at the last minute or attempting to find a sermon illustration from books. Yes, good sermon planning allows the preacher to make greater use of her or his time.
2) Sermon Planning allows the preacher to more easily address the people’s real needs
This is true because sermon planning allows us first of all to find the people’s real needs. We no longer make assumptions about what is needed in the congregation, we analyze the congregation to determine them.
When you construct a sermon plan, you give yourself a chance to plan in the people’s needs in a much greater way than when you are preaching week to week without a sermon plan. You can plan for a sermon series to address a weakness in your congregation or perhaps throw in a few sermons to strengthen the strengths of the congregation. When you plan, you and the Spirit decide what will be the larger direction of your pulpit ministry more than what would happen if you preached week to week without engaging in sermon planning.
3) Sermon Planning allows us to see our “blind spots”
All preachers have “blind spots” in their preaching ministry. These are areas where we either don’t preach or don’t spend enough time preaching. When we have such issues we deprive our congregation of certain themes that may be needed by the congregation.
Sermon Planning will help us see these blind spots. Just seeing them is helpful. An adequate sermon plan also will helps us determine how much we need to preach on some of these issues in our particular congregation. When you plan, you can put in sermons that address these places that we would normally ignore if we did not go through the effort of planning our sermon ministry.
4) Sermon Planning allows us to preach a more broad message
Related to that, those who preach sermons derived from week to week preaching (without a plan) can preach a limited message. The sermons address the same themes. They often exhibit a limited theology. “Ain’t God Good” might be the only theme addressed. Or other preachers may end up with a “You Need to Live Right” message. Both of these themes are true and valuable in and of themselves, but they are not the full counsel of God. The full counsel would include both of these themes and more. A good way to broaden our message is to engage in sermon planning.
5) Sermon Planning allows us to spend more time on exegesis and sermon construction
One of the great things that sermon planning does is that it removes the frantic search for an “idea” or “thought” or “text.” The text and a basic direction are taken care of in the plan. Now you can immediately go into exegesis and then sermon construction.
Certainly there are times when we set our plan aside as the Spirit guides us in another direction. But sermon planning helps us to preach a well rounded message to create a well rounded people. I believe that sermon planning will improve your preaching and help you to move your preaching ministry to the next level.