Monday, October 08, 2007

Sermon Preparation

Little Mary at "We Do It Too" has asked people to share their sermon preparation process. I enjoyed reading everyone's processes, even though I was somewhat shamed by many of them. I decided to post my comment here.

Here is my process.

Monday (or thereabouts) read through the text (I usually spend some time early in a season deciding in advance which texts I'll preach... right now I have a worksheet that takes me through Christ the King). Open up my NIB. Read the Harper Collins study notes (I'm going to be better about that, now that I've read here about pasting them into an outline...!).

But, really, the phone is ringing, I'm going into the sanctuary with the sexton to talk about the placement of the baptismal font, I'm talking to the sewing circle about their latest project... so this might not happen on Monday. Or Tuesday.

I look at The Text This Week to see if any articles there catch my eye. (My favorite link lately is Daniel Clendinin, The Journey With Jesus).

Then I let it all simmer on the back burner. I write as soon as something occurs to me... whatever my "way in" to the text has turned out to be. Once I start, I try to refocus myself periodically by asking, "What's your point, Homer?" (Said like Moe).

I sometimes (this is the truth) set myself the task of dreaming about the text. If I can't find a way in, I read the text before bed and ponder. Often in the morning I've made a connection of some kind that allows me to begin writing.

I like other peoples' processes better.

I forgot to mention translation work. That's because I have this obsessive all or nothing relationship to it. I either must translate the entire passage myself or I have no time or energy for it. (Usually the latter). When I translate I have great fun. Occasionally... only occasionally... does it make a huge difference in what I will say.

This was fun.


Wyldth1ng said...

I am personally befuddled.

Magdalene6127 said...

I know. It hardly sounds like a "process" at all, huh?

more cows than people said...

mags- i have the sense that you are using perceptions about my process, in part, to fuel shame about yours and i want to beg you please to release yourself from any shame induced by me.

i think we all feel inadequate in our preaching preparation- i have only for the past nine months kept a record of my prep process- before that it was all ethereal- in my head- wispy things.

my friend's outline has helped me be more concrete in my prep, but I still don't think I do enough. So... we all have our own way. and let us not shame one another, k?

i am working not to be ashamed, for example, that i don't have concrete hours of prayer involved in my process. sure i'm praying, sort of, all along, but... you know what i mean.

our processes are similar. i just spent some time on textweek after finishing my harpercollins perusal.

hey babe, don't forget to send me your snail mail address? k?

Magdalene6127 said...

More Cows, no worries. My tongue was somewhat implanted in my cheek when I spoke of shame. My process is what it is, and as I am pretty happy with my sermons these days, I probably won't change it.

I will choose my language more carefully though!

Wyldth1ng said...

This probably isn't the best place to put this comment. I want you and whomever else may read this, that I am being helped by the sermons and your "daily lives of posting". It helps me do my job, and the funny part is my peers tell me that they have seen improvement since I started interacting with you all. So I hope that my "random and sensless comments" are taking in with what they are. Thank you for what you do.

Magdalene6127 said...

Wyld, I very much appreciate your comment. I am so happy to hear you are getting something useful out of our little online community of preachers. And you are giving us a connection that is vital for us to keep ourselves grounded in reality, too. Thanks for being a part of it all.