I like the eight-stage approach to sermon preparation we use on this site. It makes sense. It works. Sometimes I’m tempted to add a stage, but I think I’ll stick with eight. Yet if I were to add a stage, what would it be?
It could be something to do with the invitation to preach that comes before the eight-stages. Perhaps I’ll develop that thought in the days ahead. I suppose you could make a case for adding delivery as a stage. After all, delivery of the sermon is critical. But then again, if these are the stages of preparation, then really it would need to be something about preparing to deliver, rather than the actual delivery. Perhaps I’ll develop that thought too.
At this point in time, if I were to add a stage, it would come between stages 4 and 5. After grasping the idea of the passage, before attempting to develop a message, it’s time for audience analysis. This is critical. The very definition of expository preaching I teach incorporates the notion of relevance to specific listeners. How is relevance possible without consideration of the audience? It may be the first time you preach to them, or the thousandth, but it is worth considering them and the timing of the sermon to them during each preparation.
I haven’t added it as a stage. I still use and teach eight stages. But I have added it as a category. So if you click on Audience Analysis on the menu to the right, you will find previous posts on this important issue.