Slow Cooked Sermons

Most preachers develop of preparation cycle and rhythm.  Perhaps it takes five days from start to finish (maybe with an extended period for collecting any interesting tidbits from the point the series are planned).  Perhaps you have an eight or ten-day cycle.  Perhaps you only preach periodically and so take two or three weeks to study the text and shape the message.

Consider having a slow cooker bubbling on your desk.  You could take that literally, but I mean metaphorically.  Select a series or a sermon that is several months away, set apart 15-30 minutes a day and work through the text nice and slowly.  It allows you to take your time with original language work, whatever level of ability you have.  It allows you time to peruse, ponder and pause over the commentaries.  It allows you to gradually formulate main ideas of sections, outlines of messages, etc.  It allows you to make notes of specific support material.

All the things you may have to rush through in a normal preparation cycle, you can do well with this approach.  What’s more, that slow cooked sermon and the textual study that underlies it may be more of a feast for your soul than some of the study and sermons you do at your normal pace in the meantime!

My messages are seven months away.  The cooker is on (and I get to enjoy learning Logos 4 at the same time!)

4 thoughts on “Slow Cooked Sermons

  1. I find that my sermons are better when they are “slow cooked.” Some of the best examples come from the Word being lived in the community, and if I don’t have the word in my head and the time to be in the community, those examples are lost.

  2. So true. Tom Holland calls this the “unconscious incubation period.” Perhaps you’ve heard the “one hour prepared for every minute spoken.” This improves quality, depth, cohesiveness, even duration (in other words, more said in less time, which is good for all); and, is not for the lazy!
    Enjoy your blog much.

  3. Great metaphor and great advice! Another way the “slow cooker” method plays out is that the Spirit has a chance to use all your study and preparation to bring a special message in times of crisis or special need. The Word we studied last year is still living and active! With the recent Haitian crisis, I felt led to preach a sermon that pulled things I had studied and worked on almost a decade ago as a youth minister and combined it with things that connected with more recent studies and things I’m already working on for the future!

    Also, just have to make a note: a “slow-cooker” is also called a crock-pot, which just a vowel away from being what some people call us preachers! LOL

  4. In homiletics classes I teach periodically, I require students to reject the first outline of their sermon. Thsi forces the practice of planning ahead, pondering and then re-pondering the material and finally coming to a more mature sermon structure. Your “slow cooking” concept may do a better job of providing the same result.

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