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Pastors: here’s a free, thoughtful booklet by Justin Buzzard on how to structure your sermon preparation time.

He breaks his sermon preparation time into four parts over 15 hours, using a gardening metaphor:

Part 1: Till: Study your text and structure your sermon (5 hrs Monday, 13 days out)
Part 2: Seed: Make a hybrid draft of your sermon (4 hrs Wednesday, 11 days out)
Part 3: Germinate: Write a final draft of your sermon (6 hrs Thursday, 3 days out)
Part 4: Reap: Preach your sermon


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9 thoughts on “An Outline for a Process of Sermon Preparation”

  1. Dale in Tx says:

    Wow, great litte booklet.

    1. Justin Taylor says:

      That’s in the booklet.

  2. Jason says:

    I’m always fascinated by how other pastors/teachers approach their sermon prep – more from a posture of curiosity then emulation. I’ve tried a variety of approaches over the years and have finally settled on one that fits my abilities/schedule, etc. BUT I am always listening to others to see if I can incorporate some little tidbit that might enhance my own study.

    However you do the prep work – in the words of Nike – ‘just do it’!

  3. Jason says:

    Curious, is this someone who preaches weekly? I was struck by the “13 days out” and what not.

  4. Jason says:

    Sorry, my own question answered by following the links. Thanks!

  5. Matt Beatty says:

    Buzzard says, “Also, utilize humor.” I’d love to hear someone defend the use of humor in preaching from the example and/or advice of the Apostles and Prophets. And the church, historically considered. Not interested in defenses of humor in LIFE, but in preaching. This is something I seriously struggle with as a pastor – I’m very well aware that many of my colleagues use humor very effectively – effectively in the sense that folks enjoy their preaching and testify to the fact that it helps to… well… it helps. But I’m not buying it just yet.

    Anyone want to try? Or direct me to something that’s already been written? I’m very open to being convinced, just haven’t been (so far).

    Thanks in advance.

  6. Justin,

    Thanks so much for posting a link to this helpful resource!

  7. Joshua W says:

    Pastor Beatty,

    I don’t have the scholarly background to speak knowledgeably myself, but other folks I respect indicate that Jesus’ preaching ministry was rather thick with literary devices such as hyperbole, irony, upturned expectations, even sarcasm, often with intentionally humorous results.

    My wife read a book on this topic by Elton Trueblood – a memorable name, but unfortunately the title wasn’t as memorable, and it escapes me now.

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Justin Taylor, PhD


Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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