Continuing the list of suggestions for the pressured preacher who feels he has to use used outlines in order to be ready to preach . . .
4. Don’t move on too quickly. Most sermons take too long to finish, but then are finished with too soon. While I’m not advocating preaching longer for most preachers, I would say that once the sermon is done, it may well not be done, and might bear the weight of another visit next time. Doubling up exegetical work by preaching the same passage more than once is worth considering.
5. Don’t pressure yourself. There are several problems with borrowing sermon outlines. One is that you might borrow junk and therefore offer junk to your listeners (it is amazing how much poor preaching is offered through the internet!) On the other hand, you might get into the habit of borrowing a standard you find intimidating and can therefore never live up to. Don’t pressure yourself. Your listeners will appreciate a simpler sermon that is truly owned, they don’t need you to pretend to be him (whoever he is).
6. Don’t starve yourself. Another issue with borrowing sermon outlines is that you are cutting yourself off from one of the greatest delights of preaching – the wrestling with a text so that it marks your life. Even if you can’t give 20 hours a week to a sermon (few can), you will do much better to have wrestled for two hours than none.
7. Generate time from elsewhere. Do you create a powerpoint when you preach? Don’t bother, save the time. The powerpoint may or may not be helpful, but if it is powerpoint time or passage time, it should be passage time every time. Do you spend half an hour picking songs for the service? Ask someone else to do that. Do you search the internet for pithy introductory anecdotes? Save the time and get into the Word. Do you scratch your head for illustrations? Look at the text more carefully and describe the images or story in the passage.
More thoughts and ideas?