HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO PREPARE A SERMON?
A questions young pastors often ask is “How much time should I spend on sermon preparation?” There is no one answer for everyone. Some pastors spend 25 or more hours a week preparing their sermon. Others need only 8 to 10 hours to develop a message that will edify and feed their people. The longer a person has been preaching and the better they know the Bible, the quicker the preparation will be.
Sermon preparation must always be a top priority and be given enough time to produce a good message. We must never wait until one or two days before preaching to start, nor must we ever use others’ sermons instead of developing our own. Preaching is a sacred responsibility and privilege. We are speaking for the King of Kings and our words must be worthy of Him. There is no shortcut. It takes a lot of time to prepare a good sermon. It’s well worth the investment. Here are some reasons why we should spend as much time as it takes to prepare our messages:
It shows respect for the people who listen. Time is valuable, and we don’t want to waste the time of those who listen to us by giving them anything but our best. Every minute we have of their attention is valuable and potentially life-changing. When you add up all the minutes spent listening by all the people who come, it amounts to a large amount of time. We must be good stewards with others’ time.
It shows respect for God’s Word. We have the privilege of passing on the very words of God Himself and must make sure everything we say is true and accurate. It takes time studying to make sure of this. As ambassadors of the King, we represent God and have the privilege of declaring His truth just as He said it. We can’t add to it (Revelation 22:18). We can’t leave out anything He says (Revelation 22:19). We have a sacred task and must take it very seriously. God says because we have the responsibility to learn and teach Scripture, we “will be judged more strictly” for how we handle and apply it (James 3:1).
It shows respect for the Holy Spirit. God’s Spirit leads us as we study and prepare messages. He honors our time and effort by helping us understand His Word and how to apply it to our lives as well as to those whom we speak. We need to rely on God’s Spirit to guide and direct us as we preach, but we also need to do that as we prepare. And that takes quality time studying, listening and preparing. It can’t be rushed. To limit the time we give the Spirit to speak to us as we prepare is to limit what God will say to us and through us.
Much of what we do with our time will not count for eternity, but time spent studying God’s Word and preparing sermons and lessons will impact our lives and our listeners forever. Bible knowledge is something we will take with us to heaven and use for all eternity. Our short time on earth is when we learn and teach His Word, so let’s do our very best. Preaching is an awesome privilege but also a great responsibility.
2 Timothy 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
Do you do your best to correctly handle the truth of the Bible in your messages?
Do you see studying and communicating God’s Word as one of your greatest privileges and responsibilities?
Does God say, “Well done, Good and faithful servant,” when He hears you preach and teach?
cto Rev. Dr. JERRY SCHMOYER
Christian Training Organization
(India Outreach, Spiritual Warfare, Family Ministries, Counseling, World View)
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