Notes on Preparing Sermons (for Pastoral Training)

  1. Read the passage through, and make your initial notes verse by verse:
    • insights
    • questions that arise in your mind
    • other passages that seem to have a bearing on things mentioned here
    • lessons and applications of this passage for us today
    • examples of the things brought up in this passage: from Scripture, from your reading, and/or from your own experience.
  2. Read commentaries on the passage (try to read at least 4), and make notes from their insights, continuing the process laid out above.
  3. Take a time of extended prayer, meditating on this piece of Scripture.
  4. On a new, single sheet of paper, write down what all the lessons you see in this passage. You will probably derive most of this list from your notes. It may be a long list but should fit on one sheet.
  5. On the other side of the paper, write down all the examples that you have thought of, again using the examples you have written down in your notes.
  6. Take another extended time for prayer and meditation, and then:
  7. Write down what you think are the 3 or 4 or 5 main propositions of this passage, lessons that you believe the Lord wants His people to hear today.
  8. Write down what you think is the single most important response you believe the Lord wants from us, and the main reason you see for this response.
  9. Figure out why people should be interested in this Scripture, or these issues, and write this down.
  10. Come up with some sort of way of introducing this reason for people to pay attention, and write out this as an introduction.
  11. Write a transition sentence or paragraph after this introduction, introducing the "thesis" (from Number 8 above), and mark this paragraph "Transition" or "T".
  12. Write your thesis out, and underline it.
  13. Write down the first main point, and then develop why you think it is true or right or important, with evidence from the text itself. Use examples, other references, and/or other things as necessary.
  14. Write down what you think ought to be the next main point (whether it comes in order in the text or not; it probably will come next in the text, but not necessarily), and develop this main point as in Number 13.
  15. Continue with the other main points from Number 7 above, developing them in the same way.
  16. Leave a space on your paper, and mark the following as your "Conclusion".
  17. For your conclusion, restate your thesis, from Number 8 above. Then briefly recapitulate each of the main points in one sentence. Then write one final sentence to conclude the entire sermon.
  18. Later on you can try other forms with not only the conclusion, but other parts of the sermon, but for now, stick to this pattern carefully.
  19. All the places in your sermon where you call for a response to the Lord, mark this "Application". All the examples you use, mark "Example". Highlight or underline your main points.
  20. Turn this in next week for comments and corrections; then expect to preach the sermon (in the small group) starting the following week.