If you want to have a meal that’s worth eating, you’ve got to take time to prepare it. The same is true for the sermon process.
Some people prefer fast food. But fast food has done nothing for the nation’s nutrition levels (it has done wonders for their waistline). Microwaves are good…. for popcorn and leftover meatloaf. If you really want a good meal, slow cooking is the best way to go. When was the last time you went to a BBQ place that advertised “we microwave our ribs so you have them in seconds?”
In the same way, the sermon process takes time to develop. It is part of the creative process and also the internalizing process.
The other day I saw this message that John Cleese delivered on the creative process (I originally saw it over at Accidental Creative btw; kudos to them for bringing it to my attention.) Pay attention to the 1:24 mark and what follows.
Good sermons don’t come from the internet where you download someone’s outline or series. Good sermons that have nutritional value for your audience are always slow cooked.
Here are 3 ways to slow cook your sermon:
Get the idea of your text early in the week. If you can get your idea into a single sentence as soon as possible, it gives more time to wrestle with that idea. If you can have the idea of the text a couple of weeks in advance, that’s even better.
Let the idea percolate in your mind and heart. Ask these questions: “Why did the original audience need to hear this?” “What is this idea communicating about the character of God?” and “Where does this idea show up (or not show up) in my life?”
Imagine what your people and your world would look like if this idea was actualized. If people were to actually practice or live this out, what difference would it make? What would their world look like if the opposite were true?
You can’t microwave a great message. Great sermons are slow cooked.
Question: What helps you to internalize the text? What helps you in the creative process of preparing the sermon?