This is the essence of sermon construction. It is very important for every preacher to develop this.
Finally, we come to the presentation of the message:
- The clear and effective communication of the truth.
- How to present your subject in a manner which will captivate the minds of your hearers.
- How to develop your thoughts in such an orderly manner that your audience can easily follow the line of truth you are seeking to convey.
- How to motivate your listeners to appropriate actions, for we are to be “doers of the word and not hearers only” Gas 1:22).
These concepts comprise the essential aspects of sermon preparation. We will be dealing with each of them more fully later in this study.
D. THREE TYPES OF SERMON PREPARATION
- The Written Sermon
This is a method which demands a great deal of time in preparation. It involves very copious notes. Sometimes the whole message is written out beforehand. The preacher knows exactly what he wishes to say and how he wants to say it. Every thought is written out in full.
This often involves several pages of notes. It gives attention to great detail, the construction of a sentence and the correct word to use. Every aspect of the proposed sermon is considered in meticulous detail.
This method has advantages and disadvantages. An advantage is that the whole sermon has been the subject of very careful attention to detail.
Thus, there should be an adequate coverage of every important area of relevant truth. Nothing has been left to chance. This style should ensure a complete and comprehensive treatment of every subject.
The disadvantage in the presentation of this type of sermon is that it often comes across as uninteresting and does not capture the listener’s attention. This style of presentation can easily become extremely boring.
- “Skeleton-type” Notes
This is the most commonly used method, and the one which I feel is the most effective. Notes are kept to a minimum, affording sufficient outline of the message to prompt the memory.
The brief notes form the “skeleton” of the message. They are the bones which give shape and structure to what the preacher desires to say. As he speaks, he puts “flesh” on the bones and a “body” to his sermon. He amplifies the thoughts that his brief notes have stimulated.
This method allows the preacher much more flexibility. He is not tied to his notes so much. He is more open to the inspiration that will often come to him while he is actually preaching. His delivery is more spontaneous and interesting, but the framework of his message keeps his mind on track. He is able to give an adequate, well-thought out coverage of his subject, but his presentation is not hard to listen to.
- The Extemporary Sermon
This style of preaching is spontaneous, and usually presented without notes at the time of delivery. The subject is often given a good deal of careful thought beforehand, and the mind and heart are filled with the vital aspects of the message.