Yesterday I posted a preaching tips blog about sermon prep, and the response from both my regular readers was so underwhelming, that i decided to stick with the same topic another day...
When I talk about preparation, I'm talking about 2 things:
1. Preparing Myself.
It is not enough to prepare a great sermon to preach, and not prepare the preacher. We prepare ourselves to preach by walking with God. It is not enough to have a good sermon, but not be a good Christian. Self preparation is about heart, attitude and relationship with God. This is the hardest and most painful part of sermon prep. Now for the easy part...
2. Preparing My Sermon.
A little info about our church - Victory Metro Manila - might help you understand my preparation context:
- 25 year old church in huge metro area (14 million)
- multi-site with 14 Metro Manila venues
- multi-service with 64 weekend services on Fri, Sat and Sun
- multi-generational - equal number of kids, teens, 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's...
- multi-language with weekly sermons in English, Tagalog and Taglish (English-Tagalog blend)
- discipleship-based church with 3500 small group leaders scattered all over the metro
- over 50 different live preachers per month (no video preachers)
- multi-generational preachers with preachers in their 20's, 30's, 40's and 50's
- all 64 services feature the same sermon
- our kid's church preachers preach a kid-friendly version of the same sermon with the same big idea
- our sermon prep team meets quarterly to write and edit sermons
- every preacher has the freedom and responsibility to develop and communicate the big idea any way that makes sense to his/her particular congregation
- while all 64 venues present the same big idea, all 64 will are different - depending on the audience, the preacher's gifting, style and personality
- all this requires massive preparation and coordination
- this is constantly in a state of evolution
Some of my really spiritual (mystic, charismatic, "spirit-led") friends are bothered that we plan in advance. They say that it will not be "fresh" or that it will not be the timely word of the Lord.
But doesn't the Holy Spirit know what the church will need to hear a year in advance, or does He only figure it out Saturday night? If the Holy Spirit actually does know what is needed in advance, can't He let us know in advance, or does He have to wait until the last minute?
Why do we equate lack of planning and last minute with being led by the Spirit?