Sermon Prep Time

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by Dr. Bob, Feb 27, 2006.

  1. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2000
    Messages:
    29,402
    Likes Received:
    12
    Rather than divert another topic, wonder what general time constraints do you pastors have in preparing an exposition of the Word?

    Text
    Outline
    Translate
    Diagramming
    Developing sermon
    Illustration
    Application
    Practice
    Typing final draft/notes (I use sentence outline that is 5-7 pages)

    For a Sunday Morning major exposition, it takes about 20 hours prep.

    For Sunday Evening about 1/2 of that. Add Adult SS and Prayer Meeting preparation and you have 40 hour work week in the study.

    You?
     
  2. PastorSBC1303

    PastorSBC1303
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2003
    Messages:
    15,125
    Likes Received:
    0
    A normal Sunday morning message takes me about 12-15 hours.
     
  3. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2006
    Messages:
    38,378
    Likes Received:
    790
    20 hours can go by easy in preptime. I have had sermons that I just couldnt get penned down fast enough. The Holy Ghost seemed to give it to me all at once.

    Lack of faithfullness and poor prep time always leads to poor exegesis. However the church does not always know or care what kind of work goes into a sermon.
     
  4. standingfirminChrist

    standingfirminChrist
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2005
    Messages:
    9,454
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have spent 12 - 14 hours on a sermon only to have the Lord change it on me once I stepped behind the pulpit.

    He just would not allow me to preach it on that date and would have me preach from another chapter. But, thank God, the congregation was never served 'stale bread' from the pulpit. I never repeated sermons.
     
  5. mnw

    mnw
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2006
    Messages:
    1,221
    Likes Received:
    0
    At the moment I am only able to spend about 10 hours on sermons for Sunday. Maybe a bit less for Wednesday.

    I would like to spend more time but other responsibilities do not permit at the moment.
     
  6. Joseph M. Smith

    Joseph M. Smith
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2006
    Messages:
    1,041
    Likes Received:
    0
    When I was in the active pastorate, the beginning of the sermon would typically take place several weeks in advance, with just the germ of its concept -- and not a lot of time invested, as the concept would seem to appear almost spontaneously. But then early in the week before that sermon was to be preached, ideas would arise in the course of whatever I was doing, and I would jot them down to be massaged later. The real work would be done on Fridays, taking anywhere from three to maybe eight hours -- generating ideas, organizing them into a coherent outline, and then composing at the computer. Saturday evening after dinner, two to three hours of rehearsing and rewriting. So the total overt time would be from five to eleven hours -- but the real preparation is not so much the time invested during the week, but the years of seminary and of subsequent reading that provided what I needed at recall. If I had had to exegete afresh every passage, the measureable time would have been much longer, but there was seldom much need to treat a passage as if I had never seen it before!

    I never did what standingfirminChrist did -- abandon a planned sermon. But I can say with him that I never repeated a sermon. I was once a member of a church where after only six months at that church the pastor was repeating sermons; and was also a member of another church where in the summer the pastor would put out a poll to ask the members which of his previous sermons they wanted to hear again! (I had to create a "None of the Above" box to check on that poll!)
     
  7. ScottEmerson

    ScottEmerson
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2002
    Messages:
    3,417
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm with Joseph. I work on things pretty well in advance, which allows illustrations that occur during the upcoming weeks to happen that best fit the actual message. I usually preach about 35-40 minutes (to students), so I like to have enough visual images to help them grasp the concept.
     
  8. exscentric

    exscentric
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 24, 2004
    Messages:
    4,253
    Likes Received:
    16
    Read a survey back in the 70's and the average pastor took about ten hours. That is about my par.

    As others, I usually set an idea down and then as the weeks went by I would think about the coming topics - the ideas, illustrations would just happen along, and when the time came to study the passage, a lot of the work was done.

    Have always worked at least full time, so the methodology was required [​IMG]
     
  9. TomVols

    TomVols
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2000
    Messages:
    11,170
    Likes Received:
    0
    Let me state at the beginning that seeking the Lord through doing advance planning helps a thousand-fold. I tried to at least have a quarter at a time scheduled at bare minimum. Come Tuesday (I normally take Monday off) I can hit the ground running. That being said, I always budgeted around 25-28 hours per week for my studying. Like most FT pastors, I'd love to be able to do more, but with a busy pastorate and family you just can't sometimes. My last FT pastorate also included me serving as the campus minister at the local community college just down the street. I'd spend typically about 12-15 hours on my Sun AM sermon, 8-10 on Sun PM, and 4-5 on Wed Bible study. About once every 6 weeks an extra hour or two per week would get used for a week's worth of 15 minute devotionals on a local AM radio station, usually condensed from recent sermons. At other times, I need an extra hour or two would go for advance planning, wedding sermon/funeral sermon tweaking, etc. I also am always reading a book on sermon preparation to stay sharp.

    I try to do a manuscript for every Sun AM sermon. It's important to be careful with the words you use to people who hear you 150 times a year. You gotta stay out of ruts. If it's with me, I use it only 10% as an outline. I usually use sentence outlines (again, looking at it 10%) for Sun PM. Wed Bible studies I work from worksheets I'd distribute to the congregation. I don't recommend being note-less, but I do recommend being note-free, not tied to your notes by constantly looking at them.
     
  10. TomVols

    TomVols
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2000
    Messages:
    11,170
    Likes Received:
    0
    Dr. Bob brings up a good point - 40 hours a week in the study is not uncommon. I tell churches I consult with that if you plan on having 3 services per week, you need to have a FT pastor. I'll let you guess how that goes over [​IMG]
     
  11. Hope of Glory

    Hope of Glory
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2005
    Messages:
    4,807
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have had a few of both extremes in which I prepared a 45 minute sermon in about 2 hours (one of my best, ironically), and on the other end, I spent 4 days on what took about 3 minutes minutes to preach (read two text books and another reference book), and about 10 more hours on the rest.

    Generally, though, I tend to to do an exposition that would take hours to preach, then I break out parts of it. So, I would spend 20-30 hours preparing the first one, and the rest would take only 4-6 hours, until I began my new section.
     
  12. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2001
    Messages:
    5,144
    Likes Received:
    25
    Following Dr. Bob's cue -- rather than divert this thread, I have started another one to raise questions brought by this one.


    Sermon prep time No. 2
     
  13. Joseph M. Smith

    Joseph M. Smith
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2006
    Messages:
    1,041
    Likes Received:
    0
    I had a friend who would take off for a week or two to a cabin in the woods and write six months' worth of sermons (of course I do now know what "write" really meant -- how complete it was). To me that precludes giving attention to new needs and issues as they arise, or new inspirations as they come along.

    Do you know this story? The Baptist pastor, the Methodist pastor, and the Episcopalian rector were having lunch one day, and talking about their sermon preparation style. The Baptist pastor said, "I am so eager to preach that on Monday morning I start working on what I am going to preach the next Sunday." The Methodist said, "That would be nice, but I am so busy with committees and the like, it is Wednesday or Thursday before I can get started on my sermon."

    To which the Episcopalian replied, "Don't your churches schedule a hymn just before the sermon?"
     
  14. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2000
    Messages:
    29,402
    Likes Received:
    12
    An old preacher in England was bemoaning a new young pastor who NEVER spent time preparing messages but enjoyed fox hunting instead.

    "The only place the fox would be safe to hide would be in the study."
     

Share This Page

Loading...