Back-Burner Sermon Study

In ministry we often live under the tyranny of the urgent. Sunday comes about every three days, or so it seems. Often we are hard pressed from every side, not only in terms of sermon preparation, but all the other complex needs of complex humanity that we are trying to serve. So it is easy to get into a routine of short-term sermon preparation.

I think it is healthy to have at least one long-term project on the back burner. Something you would like to pursue biblically, perhaps theologically and academically. Over time, gradually redeem the brief moments of time that you can find by accumulating resources. Read a journal article now and then. Work through the biblical text piece by piece. Utilize your original language skills to the max.

Allow it to percolate very very slowly. Some weeks you may not even give the project ten minutes. But some weeks you will find yourself making time to pursue this element of God’s Word with a passion. Do not rush to formulate sermons. It’s easy to rush to sermon outlines and then think you are done with the project. Perhaps the end result will not be just a sermon or even a sermon series. Perhaps it might also be journal articles. Perhaps a thesis/dissertation. Perhaps a book. Or perhaps it will just be the fruit of long-term pondering on God’s Word. That might just be the most valuable fruit of all.

2 thoughts on “Back-Burner Sermon Study

  1. Peter, I heartily agree! Preaching and teaching are ministry, and we are far too easily pulled into study that’s organized along an event-based mentality. The kind of strategy you recommend keeps us connected to Christ as branches to the vine (John 15).

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