How to Think of Sermon Preparation and Delivery Like a Three-Course Meal
- Goal. The goal of a good intro is to show the unbeliever that we understand how they might perceive what we’re saying, and to show the believer why it is important for them to pay attention to this passage and this sermon.
- When. It’s best to wait the writing of the introduction until the end of your preparation. That way you know exactly what you’re trying to introduce.
- How. Use a story, quote, experience, or thought that frontloads the sermon’s application for the believer and identifies with the unbelievers’ skepticism.
The Main Meal
- Goal. To give the weight and balance of the passage, letting it speak, and being sensitive to when things in the text happen relative to salvation history.
- When. Write the body of the sermon first. Introductions and conclusions are easier to write if you first know what you are trying to introduce and conclude.
- How. State your proposition clearly. Then formulate main points that demonstrably relate to that proposition and expound the textual referent of each main point.
- Goal. The goal of a good conclusion is to make the whole weight of the text’s point come down on the listeners’ hearts in one concise statement or question.
- When. Conclusions are best written late, perhaps just before writing the introduction. Again, figure out what you’re trying to conclude first.
- How. Repeat your proposition, summarize your main points, and give a concise quote, hymn verse, or a well-phrased sentence that presses the weight of the text on the hearts of the listeners. Winsome second person speech (“you”) can be useful here.