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Sermon Preparation Part 6 – Practicing the Sermon - by C. Matthew McMahon

Sermon Preparation and Guidelines for Expository Preaching

Today, many Christians are turning back to the puritans to, “walk in the old paths,” of God’s word, and to continue to proclaim old truth that glorifies Jesus Christ. There is no new theology. In our electronic age, more and more people are looking to add electronic books (ePubs, mobi and PDF formats) to their library – books from the Reformers and Puritans – in order to become a “digital puritan” themselves. Take a moment to visit Puritan Publications (click the banner below) to find the biggest selection of rare puritan works updated in modern English in both print form and in multiple electronic forms. There are new books published every month. All proceeds go to support A Puritan’s Mind.

“For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel.” (Ezra 7:10).

Practicing Your Sermon and Outline

Once all three parts to your sermon outline have been completed, and you are relatively satisfied with the basic structure of the sermon and its content, next, is a time of musing and practicing the sermon. The sermon outline, (with headers, main point, sub points, and the like), for the sermon example on Luke 16:1-8, runs 8 pages long as an outline. 8 pages? Yes. 8 pages, single spaced, with varied sized fonts with personal notes that remind the preacher how the course of the sermon flow works out as it progresses.

Once that outline is complete, the next step is to muse over it, prayerfully, with the assistance of the Holy Spirit. That means, find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed for the next two hours, pray, and go over the sermon in your head, with a red pen in hand, to mark the outline up and make new notes, additions or corrections.

It may be that you are proficient on your computer, and wish to work this out in the silence of your study (not your office) using the word processing program you created the outline in. That’s fine. The point is, you need to go through the sermon to make sure it flows properly from thought to thought, and all its parts logically connect cohesively together. Concurrently, you may want to move a point up or down, or add a point in, or take a point out. All this is part of the musing process.

Once the musing is done, its time to practice the sermon. Again, this is where you might even use your pulpit, or a solitary place where you can speak out loud and work your way through the sermon as you would preach it, all the while looking to be precise as to additions, subtractions, and corrections. Once you have completed your practice session with your outline, make the necessary corrections to your sermon document. If you are using a computer, be sure to back up your documents in every stage. It is a frowning providence to complete a sermon and then lose it for some odd purpose or providence.

Then comes the next phase.

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