Thursday, September 06, 2007

#2 - MO for preaching: Listening

My friend asked me a while back: What is your Modus Operandi (MO) for preparing a sermon? Here is what I wrote to him in Five Parts:
#2 Listening:

I try to listen to some examples of sermons on the same text. So I download and listen to a few MP3s on the text for homiletic help. My advice is - don’t just listen to the gurus. It’s often the young guys who are been more rigorous with the text. And when you listen to them, you are more likely to think about the text, than about celebrity skills. (You will never learn baseball from Babe Ruth, but from someone who is like you, stands near you and can guide you).

That having been said – If going for a name, then generally, I listen to someone who helps me with great exegesis (Like John Stott or John Woodhouse); someone to help me put some humble 'steel' into the sermon (Like Rico Tice or John Piper), and I might buy Tim Keller to explore (in my case) a kind of exegesis of the soul of a New Yorker, and also how to present a theological case winsomely.

These will not 'write your sermon' for you (and they shouldn't). But they may yield some homiletic insights, where the commentaries may yield theological insights.

More to come.


Pic is of Pulpit Rock by Beniot Derrier.


cafedave said...

at the risk of jumping the gun, how many hours are we talking about for sermon preparation here? As a lay preacher, I have weeks and weeks to prepare sermons generally, but if you're trying to crank out a sermon (or two! or more!) each week, is this do-able?

Justin said...

The listening for me is about the iPod. So its subway time etc. So no extra time needed for listening. In any case, there are usually only a couple of sermons available on any given text anyway.

I take about 10 hours (of which there is a 7 hour block time). I will talk about that at the last post.

Justin said...

Where do you preach, dave?

Bumble said...

20-25 hours of sermon prep every week is doable (if you preach once a week and then it's great - but then if you have to cover Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night, then it's OK).

See the series of "ten questions for expositors" on unashamedworkman (starting with ) for more.

For me, I used the template below
and my listening to other preachers is the same as reading various sermons on it. Contrast to the reading of commentaries (which helps fleshing out the theoretical contents), reading/listening to other people sermons flesh out the illustrative contents a lot.

But above all, nothing beats a sense of prayerful preparation, constantly dialog with God, "Lord, this is what they said to their flock, but what do YOU want to address this congregation?"

cafedave said...

i preach occasionally at hurstville presbyterian church, in the evening service. I usually get about 9 weeks' notice, which allows plenty of time for reading and re-reading the passage: I haven't timed how long I take on a sermon, but I would expect it would be over 20 hours each: I can't imagine churning out two of those a week and having other church responsibilities as well!