Saturday, October 06, 2007

Anatomy of a Sermon

It's that time in my week, gentle reader, when I should be committing my wisdom to paper and writing my sermon for tomorrow's service. What do you think I'm doing instead? If you guessed wasting time on the Internets, then you'd be right. See, the sermon-writing process is not as straightforward as it may seem at first glance. I have, for your convenience, created a bullet-pointed list to clarify:

-Monday: read the lessons for the next Sunday, contemplate their import, begin reading commentaries, write complex journal entries exploring their subjects...or work all day and forget that you're preaching the next week.
-Tuesday: re-read the lessons, discern which one God is calling you to expand upon, continue reading and contemplating, journaling, exploring...or get caught up in email and administrative meetings and forget that you're preaching next week.
-Wednesday: panic because you've just realized you have to preach tonight at the mid-week service in addition to two coffee dates, preschool chapel, and mission trip deposit deadline. Notice a niggling doubt that perhaps there's something you've forgotten.
-Thursday: Day Off. Do laundry, watch movies, eat cookies.
-Friday: suddenly remember that you're preaching on Sunday, read the lessons, develop an ulcer, make serious plans to write in the afternoon, then get distracted by something shiny.
-Saturday, 9am: sleep in.
-Saturday, noon: over breakfast/lunch consider how best to attack the lessons, come up with a possible idea, go do something fun secure in the knowledge that it won't be so bad now that you've got an idea.
-Saturday, 3-5pm: begin writing, by which I mean format the Word document, make a vague outline, doodle, and remember how difficult this really is.
-Saturday, 6pm: finish first draft, ball up and throw away as it is complete crap.
-Saturday, 9pm: wonder where it all went wrong.
-Saturday, midnight: finish writing final draft of what will be either (1) the worst sermon in the history of religion or (2) the Word direct from God.

Straight from the horse's mouth.

2 comments:

Bengals92 said...

so basically what your saying is that you arnt a big fan of writing sermons

aliceatredeemer said...

Weirdly, I love it. It's like a puzzle trying to figure out what God wants the people to hear and how to say it in an entertaining way. There's not much worse than boring preaching in my book. I put a lot of pressure on myself to keep people engaged in the subject. My thinking is, if the sermon's boring, by extension the subject [God, Jesus, faith, whatever] is also boring.

It's hard, but worth it.