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Five Sermon Shortcuts

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Posted by George Crowder, 28 Jun 2019

George Crowder gives advice for those struggling to fit sermon prep into a busy week.

Do you find that with all the pressures of parish life, there isn’t much time left to write sermons?  Or do you prepare your sermons so carefully you spend half of your week on them?  Is there a way to be more efficient?  Should we even be asking this question?  Dare I say it, here are five ways to reduce the time it takes to write a sermon:

1.    Keep up your biblical languages. 
If you had the privilege of learning them keep using them.  Simply interact with commentaries, or don’t even bother.  Spend the time with the original text - reading, outlining and observing features - and save time on everything else.

2.    Keep up theological reading. 
Keep building and refreshing that big picture understanding of the Bible, theology and ministry so you can quickly place your biblical study in context and apply it carefully and coherently.

3.    Know your church members. 
Visit them, spend time with them, eat and drink with them.  Then serve them humbly and faithfully by applying scripture to the real things that affect them in daily life.

4.    Meet up with fellow ministers.
Read books together, talk through what you are preaching, listen to each other’s sermons, ask advice on pastoral situations,  pray together, be accountable and keep each other sharp.

5.    Stay healthy and fresh. 
Keep up personal spiritual disciplines, get enough sleep, eat a good, balanced diet, take regular time off with family and get plenty of exercise (preferably every day, in the outdoors with a friend or friends).  We depend on clear thinking and creative thought and healthy patterns of life keep our minds quiet and alert.  Unhealthy patterns dull our minds with distraction and darkness.

George Crowder is vicar of St John's Over, and a Regional Director of Church Society.

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