…the sermon before

How do you go about ‘packing away’ yesterday’s sermon?  Obviously on a practical level it couldn’t be easier – a simple matter of a mouse click or a stapler and hole-punch.

On an emotional and spiritual level, though, it may not be so straightforward. You may find yourself replaying how it might have been, regretting how it was, or re-imagining how it could be. For my own part, I find the following steps to be helpful:

  1. Gather up the sermon notes, put them back in order and file them away.
  2. File alongside them any illustrative material which proved to be helpful in preparation or delivery.
  3. Thank God for any immediate positive response – and pray for the slower growing fruit which only show over time.
  4. Pray for a replenishment of the energy spent in preaching.
  5. Turn my mind to this week’s preaching challenges.
  6. Move on!

A preacher who never feels that the sermon could have been preached better is either supremely gifted or dangerously arrogant.  It’s a short step, though, from regret to resolve, don’t you think?  Insights gained on Monday about how it might have been preached differently yesterday can be tossed into the mixture for this week’s sermon instead. Who knows – they might be just the yeast that sermon needs to make it rise!