Someone sent this in on our Facebook Page and I thought the answer might be applicable to many readers.
Hey I have a few questions if you don’t mind helping me, I am a young preacher myself, how long on average does it take most preachers to write sermons? Can you please break down the time spent in preparation, outiling, exegesis,and actually constructing the sermon? Also, when do you know that you are ready to actually preach the sermon? Please help me out, thanks
The first thing to keep in mind is that many preachers have their own system…the key is to capture both a “surface reading” and a “deep reading” of the text.
Capture Your Initial Interaction
Capture your initial interaction with the text…read the text for an hour and just capture everything that comes to your mind….questions, points, titles, etc…
Now you have to answer your questions and verify your observations….spend 3-4 hours just reading the text closely comparing scripture with scripture. You might use some cross references. Read your text and the cross references in context. Then try to figure out the history behind the text from reading the text alone. What do you think was going on in the text? What was the text addressing?
Compare Your Thoughts to Other’s
OK, now spend 3-4 hours using commentaries and/or other folks sermons. See how your points compare to other folks understanding of the text. Find out about the history of the text that you couldn’t figure out from the text alone.
Finally spend an hour or 2 looking at the sights, sounds, smells, and textures in the text. If you have the Lilly of the valley, what does the Lilly look like? how does it smell? what does it feel like? Figure all that out.
I said once if you are gonna preach about the demoniac, then you need to hear their gruff voice, you should smell the stink of their unwashed bodies, you should feel the fear in your own self from confronting them.
Turn it Into a Sermon
Now spend a couple of hours putting all of this into sermon form.
Then spend time practicing….
How do you know you are done? It is never done till it is being preached. Even then it is not really finished because when you preach it next time it will be slightly different. You just gotta trust the material. No matter how much time you spend, you could spend more time. The key is to go over the text a number of times including a surface and then deep reading of the text. Combine all your insights into something that you will present.
You will preach a powerful sermon if you read the text a number times with different thoughts and purposes in mind and then you distill those ideas and thoughts into something that will help the people of God.