This article is dedicated to the priests, to the students of the ecclesiastical seminary and to all Christians that understand the responsability of preaching the Word of God and of spreading the Gospel to all the nations. I will present to you 18 simple steps, that will help you to prepare a biblical message, to present your message clearly and then to evaluate it.
1. Start with a word of prayer
Ask God to lead you in the whole process of preparing, presenting and evaluating your message, so that the sermon will fulfill people’s specific needs and will contribute to the spreading of God’s Kingdom.
Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you. Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full. (The Gospel of John 16:23–24)(NASB)
2. Identify the need of the recipients
It is very important for every preached biblical message to fulfill some needs of the people. If it doesn’t correspond to such a need, it doesn’t deserve the effort to prepare and preach it. Don’t ever preach a message only because you have found a verse in the Bible that seems to you suitable for preparing an interesting message. Don’t preach to admire yourself as a preacher, but to fulfill people’s specific needs. People will listen to, will appreciate and will apply the Word of God preached by you, when this Word makes a difference and brings blessing in their life. That’s why, you have to identify the problems that people have, which they confront with at their homes, in families, in their faith, in thier beliefs, in the relation with God, etc. Always try to identify the needs of the people you serve by preaching the Word of God and preach according to their needs. You will find out people’s needs and problems only when you spend time with people, when you are interested in them, in their situation, in their families, in their needs, etc. Talk a lot with people, to understand their spiritual needs well and then study the Holy Scriptures to give them solutions to the problems according to the Word of God.
3. Choose the biblical passage that will cover the problem of the listeners or a specific problem the best.
Usually, a problem relates to others and an experienced preacher will choose a book from the Bible that deals better with all these problems. In this way, preaching for a long time, all the message of the respective book will cover the most of the problems and will give a solid answer to the listeners and solutions that will help people go over the image of the things.
4. Set up the goal of the sermon
Determine clearly what you want to accomplish by preaching the respective message. What do you want to change in the thinking or in the behavior of the listeners? You can not accomplish anything or you will manage to accomplish very little when you have no clear purpose. Write the purpose on a sheet of paper, so that you may understand for yourself the goal that you follow up and that you may not deviate from it, but remain on this purpose. Then come back to this purpose after you preach and then when you evaluate the message.
5. Study the biblical text applying the inductive Bible study method
Don’t begin by looking up what the commentaries of other authors say about the book that you want to study, because you are in danger that someone will create you a preconceived opinion and then you will not be able to see clearly and deeply the truth from the Word of God. Firstly study the biblical text, doing a good and deep observation, interpretation and application. Precept Ministries International places to your disposal a great and diverse number of inductive Bible study courses about many subjects and books from the Bible, and the book “How to study the Bible?” will lead you step by step unto applying the inductive method on every biblical passage or book.
6. Make up the schematic plan of the basic text that will be preached
If you don’t know how to make a schematic plan, look up in the book “How to study the Bible?” by Kay Arthur and you will find a whole chapter dedicated to this subject. Making up the schematic plan will help you to see the way the biblical author develops and exposes his subject and in this way, you will find the proper structure of the biblical passage, that is the best and you will not have to invent another structure. Applying the proper structure of the biblical text will help you enormously to be clear while exposing the biblical truth, that you are going to present and people will understand it easily and clearly. Here is an example of a schematic plan.
7. Set up the theme of the sermon
This will help you, as a preacher, to stay on the subject, to preach only to the subject, and it will also help the listeners to wish to listen to you from the beggining till the end. Also, it is very important to set up a clear theme, understood by all and that will motivate people to come and listen to it. Immediately after you set up the theme of the message, place the announcement wherever it is possible, so that people may find out and come to listen to the message. The personal blog is an useful tool in this sense. The theme must not be long and unclear, and it must not contain words that are less known by those who will listen to it. The theme must always be made up so, that people will be motivated to listen and to apply the sermon.
8. The main points
They are those that will explain the theme, that’s why, immediately after you have determined the subject of the sermon, set up the main points. If you have done a good schematic plan of the text that you are going to preach, you will have already set up the main points of the message. It is important for each main point to explain a domain of the subject and every anterior main point must set up a good foundation for the understanding of the next main point.
9. The secondary points are those that explain the main point
It is applied the same priciple as at the main points and if you have done a good schematic plan of the biblical text, you will have well structured the secondary points too, as you see in the example of the schematic plan.
10. The illustrations have an important role at the explaining of the main points and of the whole sermon
A major problem of a lot of preachers is that they become more concerned with searching the illustrations than with the studying of the Word of God. It is interesting that, for many times, the biblical passage that we intend to preach, offers to us the necessary illustrations. That’s why, try firstly to identify the illustrations from the biblical passage that explains the truth sent by God in that passage. Don’t look for illustrations to impress people on your erudition and intelligence, but look for illustrations that express the biblical truth the best and the most clearly. The Lord Jesus used simple illustrations always, that were known and seen by all people. So, when He was on the mountain and was telling to the people the well-known Sermon on the Mountain, He used the example of the lilies and of the birds that were around Him.
For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? (Matthew 6:25–26)(NASB)
11. The introduction or the motivation to the sermon can be prepared now, since you have prepared the body of the sermon
It is very important to have a good introduction and so, to motivate people to listen to the sermon until the end. The way the people will listen to you depends upon the way you will make the introduction. The introduction is the advertisment that you do to the sermon at the beggining. You will motivate people the most by presenting them their benefits of listening the message. So, announce these benefits. It is also helpful and motivating for people to listen to you, when you announce the structure, the puropose and the length of your message, clearly at the beggining.
12. The conclusion of the message
Conclusion is important to be done, because this will summarize the central truth of the sermon and it will help people memorize and apply. The conclusion is very necessary. Otherwise, you can realize that people have understood something else than you have meant, or even the contrary. That’s why, in conclusion, recapitulate and say clearly once again the biblical truth that you have explained, exemplified and illustrated in the sermon.
13. The application
Application is the part of the sermon that has to be neglected in no way, because in this way, the sermon becomes unuseful or of little use to the listeners. After they have listened and understood a specific biblical truth, the listeners need to be helped to apply it to their specific situation, to their context, etc. Be ready and ask clear questions for application. Ask sufficient questions and offer sufficient time from the sermon to help people understand and then, apply the learnt truth.
14. The end
Is the last phrase or sentence of the message that the sermon will say. This phrase has to be one that motivates, that calls to action or that lets people analyse. Think this phrase well. Here is the last phrase from the Revelation, the last book from the Bible:
He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly ” Amen Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen. (Revelation 22:20–21)(NASB)
15.Write the sermon on a paper, word by word
This is an exercise that many don’t like, but all great preachers were used to do this. Many of them, after they had written the message, didn’t read it from the paper in front of the listeners. The process of writing organizes very much your thinking, verifies your vocabulary and preapres it to you for the time when you preach the message in front of the listeners. The writing organizes your thinking very much. Today’s technologies offers exceptional possibilities for every preacher to publish the written message on Internet, as I use to do on this portal. So, the mesages placed on Internet become accessible to all people that have access on Internet, from the whole world, at any time. In this way, not only the people from your church will profit from your message and not only once, but a lot of people, all around the world. At the moment of writing this article, the portal Moldova Creștină has on an average, 436 visits per day according to one poll, and 50% of the visitants don’t use to go to any church. Posting the messages on Internet, we help these people to find out and to live according to God’s will.
16. Prepare the presentation Power Point
When new techologies appear, the businessmen apply them immediately to have more profit. I am so sorry when I see sometimes that the priests and the people of God are late for using these techologies. When I found out about Power Point I understood that it offers great advantages in preaching the Word of God. While I was studying it, it seemed to me that those who worked it out, firstly thought to prepare it for preachers. It is sad that there are so few preachers that use this powerful tool efficiently, even if having a LCD or DLP projector in the church. Once, I have visited a big church, where they had 3 big screens with pojectors placed in the main hall, but where the preachers were not using Power Point. I am happy, though, for many preachers and priests that I have had the delight to teach them how to use these techologies and which they have bought and at the moment use them very well and efficiently. At the Computer School ScipTehInfo you can anytime come and study the program Power Point. At the same time, you will do an interesting study on the book of Romans, because we have conceived the course to be also a time of studying the Epistle of Paul to Romans.
17. Preach the message
Since you have prepared the message and all that is needed to present it efficiently, it is the time to preach it. Be firm and passionate in preaching the Word of God. Be simple, be yourself. You don’t have to copy anyone and you don’t have to behave the way you are not, in fact. Speak simply and clearly.
18. The evaluation of the message
It is important to be done, because in this way you will learn to preach better, you will correct your mistakes or things that you have missed up.
Be a good preacher and preach the Word of God.
Translated by Djugostran Felicia