Years ago my wife and I had the opportunity to have our very first home built. We had it built in a new housing development. We got to pick the floor plan, paint colors, options in the design, the tile, the lot it was built on, and everything in between. It was an awesome experience.
For anyone who has ever been involved in building a house, you know the process of watching the house progress from a dirt lot to your dream home is almost as exciting as moving into the house itself.
Every week we would swing by the lot and watch the progress. We took pictures during each stage from the pouring of the foundation, to the framing, drywall, and eventually moving in.
Writing a message is a lot like building a house. There are seven different stages that the construction of a message must go through before it is completed.
How to Write a Sermon – Step 1: Infrastructure
The first step in writing a sermon is…
I know, shocker! Right? But before you tune me out because you have heard all this before, hang in there, because prayer is not something to be taken lightly.
“I would rather teach one man to pray than ten men to preach.” – Charles Spurgeon
One of the first things you must do when building a house is to tap into the infrastructure of the city. You have to drop water, sewage, gas, and power lines. Although this process is not exciting to watch, connecting these lines is crucial.
You could build the most elaborate mansion on the most beautiful land, but without infrastructure toilets won’t flush. Appliances won’t work. The heater and air-conditioner won’t blow. You cannot shower. And you better stock up on firewood and flashlights because you can forget about any lights at night.
A house needs to be tapped into a power source.
Prayer is the way we tap into the power source for our sermons.
“Prayer is where the action is.” – John Wesley
Do you want to preach a message without God’s power backing it? Do you want the Holy Spirit to show up and change lives? You better pray.
Long before you build the foundation and framing of your message, you need to start here.
Get on your knees. Beg God to show up. Ask the Holy Spirit to speak through you. Ask for direction and guidance for your message. Plead for hearts to be softened and lives to be changed, not for your own glory, but for His.
Too many pastors preach without prayer. They get so busy during the week that they forget. Maybe they throw up a few of the same generic prayers that they say every week, but they don’t wrestle with God.
“No learning can make up for the failure to pray. No earnestness, no diligence, no study, no gifts will supply its lack.” – E.M. Bounds
Pastors can quickly become functional atheists because they put all the responsibility on themselves to preach a great sermon. It is all about their talent, their ideas, their words, and their personality.
May we never preach this way. May we never wipe God from the equation of our sermon preparation because we’ve got it covered.
Don’t Skip This First Step.
“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” – James 5:16b (NIV)
Pray. Pray hard. Pray often. Pray before you ever sit down and stare at the blank page and blinking cursor on your computer screen. Pray before you ever crack open your Bible.
Any man who ever hopes to accomplish anything great for God must begin on his knees.
Plug in to the source of all power.
Connect to the infrastructure.
Next Month: Step Two: Lay the Foundation: Scripture
[Dale Flynn and his wife, Liz, are Word of Life Local Church Ministries missionaries in Eastern MD. Dale is a Local Church Ministries curriculum editor and is the editor of this Ministering to the Minister E-Transfer national electronic Pastor’s newsletter. The Flynns make their home in Elkton, MD. Questions or comments about this article may be addressed to Dale at: DFlynn@wol.org. ]