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Devotional and sermon prep can be demanding. It does not matter if you are a seasoned veteran or tackling your first ministry opportunity. Perhaps you are confident in your homiletics training, or maybe you feel like you were “thrown into the deep end of the pool without your flotation device.”

Regardless of how you arrived where you are today, we can all use additional help. The truth of our message never changes but the methods do. Thinking about and learning new ways to communicate could potentially reach more people.

I use a basic template as the foundation for my devotional and sermon preparation. I take speaking seriously so I allot ample time for preparation. Therefore, do not equate the simplicity of this outline with the amount of time put into preparation.

  • Internalize the Context – Become familiar with the verse or passage you plan to share. Make sure you know the context. Take time to understand how it fits within the book, section, chapter, etc. Also, let it become a part of your life, not just something you are talking about for a few minutes.
  • Envision Your Concept – What is your big idea? What do you want people to remember when they leave? Where are you trying to go with this devotional/sermon? And how will you know if you arrived?
  • Develop the Content – Your first concern is biblical accuracy. Once your message is solid biblically, draw the cultural connections to enhance communication.
  • Practice Your Communication – Don’t think this is a rookie concept. Every audience deserves our best. My former pastor, Dr. Shelly Ezell, told me when I was a young preacher boy, “Those are God’s people–you are God’s man–and they deserve to hear from God!”

Each of you has different speaking demands. Take some time with your calendar and schedule time to pray, plan, research, study, and practice so you can be as effective as possible. You may never know this side of eternity the work God does in the heart of just one of your listeners.

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