Talk:Creating the Message

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If you've been in the ministry of preaching more than six months it's happened to you; Sunday morning rolls around and you don't want to get out of bed because you aren't prepared, yikes!

I say this because it generally takes a few months to get yourself ingrained with your flock to the point they call you for their needs. Oh sure, they call you from the first day you're there but after a while they start calling you late in the night or for emergencies or they call you for counseling, or just whatever. In any case it happens to ALL of us at some time, we come to Sunday unprepared or under prepared. Even if you are preaching through the Lectionary and have a good guideline on your topic, it happens, life happens.

What to do? Well, speaking from experience the first time this happened to me I hit some website resource and plagerized something, what a colossal flop. I actually did this a couple of times until the thought struck me, I have a boat load of sermons from when I was in school! This is a great resource, your old exegetical papers or sermons you had to write. Print one out and have a good laugh at how your ideas have changed and then mark it up and go for it.

I did this a couple times to much greater success, mostly because it was all me not someone else. Then I came up with the idea that on slow weeks I made up some extra material. I preach from extended outlines and so when I had time during an afternoon I would work on several outlines, fleshing them out, didn't matter the topic or particular Scripture. And before I knew it I had a nice file of "backup" material.

After doing this for a while I found myself returning time and again to two favorite places, the Psalms and the pericopies of Jesus Christ. So in my free time I began to pursue these more directly and intentionally and my file grew. Eventually I wound up doing Sunday series and some Bible Studies and some other class material.

There are two key points to this pursuit: First, don't try too hard. If you try too hard you will make it work and something will suffer. I'm A.D.D. and I don't do well focusing for more than an hour on something. I just took an hour and whatever I got done was good enough, I could come back to it. Second, go with your strength. My strength is the encouragement and struggles present in the Psalms collection and finding insight through the teachings of Jesus Christ. Bottom line is these are both easy for me; find what is easy for you and work that, this ain't supposed to be hard, this is actually fun and relaxing and you will find it helps you think about your "real" sermon.

Hope this helps.