Tuesdays of weeks I preach in the main service are usually pretty brutal days for me. By Tuesday, I've done most of the study of the passage from which I'll preach. I've completed my language work, and have a basic outline of the passage that I'll preach from and the "Big Idea" of the passage I hope to convey. 

But as soon as I publish this blog today, I'll hole up in my office and complete the most tedious piece of the process. By the time I leave to office today, Lord willing, I'll have a 13 page manuscript of the exact words I'll say on Sunday. The rest of the week will be devoted to reading through and tweaking the manuscript as I continue to think and pray through the passage I'll be teaching. 

This is my least favorite part of the process. I love the study, and love the delivery, but hate the process of actually putting flesh on the structure of my message. It's hard for me - feels like busy-work.

I never preach from a manuscript - I throw the thing in the garbage on Sunday morning. But it's important for me to have it written out for several reasons. 

1. The Message is too important not to think through every single word. 

2. Transitions are as important as main points. If you bungle a transition, people will miss the main point. My manuscript forces me to think not only about where I'll go, but how I'll get there.
3. Timing is everything. By manuscripting what I'll say, I ensure that I say what I need to say in the time I've been given. There is nothing more frustrating than listening to a preacher who can't find the end of his message while your lunch is burning at home. I expect others to respect my time, so I want to respect theirs. 

4. If I'm deliberate, I can say more memorable things in less time than if I'm haphazard in my delivery.

5. I want a record of the gist of what I said. It's hard to estimate exactly how much time goes into preparation for a sermon because it's hard to get a sermon out of your head, even when you're not "on the clock." But I spend around 20 or 25 hours of clock time on every sermon, and want something to show for that time if the CD is lost and the video is broken. 

Pray for me today - I hate this part of the process. But, the end justifies the means. It's worth it. 

Now, into hiding I go...


chloeadele said...

wish i would have seen this yesterday. i'll go ahead and pray for the revision part. i'll remember you on tuesdays.

i find it humorous that as different as we are in 'how' we think, this sounds like exactly how i would do it if i was speaking. i wouldn't want to read from a script either, but i need to see it written down to remember it and tweak it as the ideas become cleaned up and finalized. good to know!