Every week I spend somewhere around 15 hours preparing for what I am going to say on Sunday. The sermon is the single most significant piece of work that I do. I approach each one with two goals in mind.
First, I want the listeners to learn something about God, his word, and how we relate to him. I want them to walk away knowing something they didn’t realize before hearing it that Sunday morning. If they had known it before, then I want to apply it in such a way that they are challenged in their thoughts and actions for the week, possibly a lifetime.
Second, I recognize that some of the people who sit and listen to me each week have been believers for longer than I have been alive. They know more of the Bible than I do at this point. Some of them have applied it throughout a lifetime, so what am I going to say to them? My goal is that this group will have something to share that week. The message they heard will linger with them in conversations with family, friends, and casual acquaintances to challenge and encourage as needed.
My dream each week is that my sermon will still be working on Tuesday morning. I pray that the content will resonate with people a couple of days after the original hearing. Today, as I sit at my computer typing, editing, planning, and preparing, is that I will be able to have something for people to grow or something for them to share. A great week is when I can accomplish both with one sermon.
One of my questions today is, “How did I do last Sunday?” If I did my job well, then the sermon is still working. If not, I am working toward next Sunday, and I will give it my best to try again this week. Today is the real test of a good sermon.