OK, we all know that we should prepare, but how do you prepare? Many put forth much effort into creating a strong manuscript, and then step into the pulpit having spent little time reading the document.
Know Your Manuscript
In contrast, great preacher’s review their sermon several times before arriving at the appointed place. My mentor, the Rev. G.L. Parks, has suggested that one reads their manuscript no less than 10 times prior to preaching it. The preacher should especially pay attention to details like spelling and grammatical concerns. Such efforts will help to ensure that the preacher doesnâ€™t stumble over or mispronounce words.
Know Your Biblical Text
For those who opt to preach without a script, familiarizing oneâ€™s self with the introduction, major points transitions, and the close is helpful. Regardless of how one presents the material, a good way to be prepared is to be familiar with the text. Many seasoned pastors suggest that one knows their text well enough to cite it from memory. This is a good idea, and one should be familiar with the text enough to put emphasis where necessary in the text. Also having the proper pronunciation for difficult proper names is also a good way of demonstrating competence through preparation.
Thus preparing a strong manuscript is just the beginning, preparation includes knowing the Biblical text as well as one’s manuscript very well.