Monday – I’m so glad it’s my day off. Yesterday’s sermon was terrible. Maybe this week will be better.

Tuesday AM -  I better get some emails done and get the blog lined up. If I can check a few things off my To Do List I’ll really be able to concentrate on my sermon.

Tuesday PM – I wasn’t expecting the lunch to go so long and for them to stop by. I’ll guess I’ll get to my sermon tomorrow.

Wednesday AM – Man, more emails. I need to make a few phone calls too. The agendas also need some work. Sermon prep soon.

Wednesday PM – I forgot–staff meetings all afternoon. I got to buckle down and start on this sermon tomorrow.

Thursday AM – Okay, here we go. Let’s get the paper and pencil out and open my Greek Bible. Darn, made the mistake of checking my email and leaving my door open. Got to take care of a couple more things.

Thursday PM – Finally started on my sermon. Working on translation. Making notes. So thankful to be a pastor. What a privilege to study God’s word. I’m getting a little sleepytrhough.

Friday AM – Excited to work on this sermon and think about preaching. So much to learn. So much to study. Never saw that before.

Friday PM – What a mess. I don’t see three points anywhere. Better pray. What is this sermon about? Where I am going? Need an outline before I go home. Brain don’t fail me now.

Saturday AM – It’s quiet here. Need to stop fiddling around with emails. Need some better illustrations. What is my application? These three points could be worded better.

Saturday PM – Praying for help. A few good thoughts I think. That section will preach. The introduction is so-so. Conclusion needs work. Have to push through and finish this. If I push print I can go home.

Saturday extra-PM – I’m sure this is too long. Needs pruning. I’m excited to preach this, but boy it doesn’t feel like much. No time left except for prayer. Should be in bed already.

Sunday before preaching- I can’t believe I get to preach. Stay humble. Pray for unction.

Sunday during preaching – What a joy to teach God’s word. And a challenge. Am I getting through? Am I getting in the way? Need to trust God. I must decrease, he must increase. I think I see a cloud the size of a man’s hand in the distance.

Sunday after preaching – That was too long…again. Trying to smile and talk to people while wondering if that made any difference. A lot of polite hello’s. A couple critiques. Several people seemed genuinely helped. I’m getting hungry and may need to use the bathroom.

Sunday evening – Crazy day. Get the kids to bed. Talk to my wife. Call my mom. Thankful for a good day. Glad it’s over. Not sure what God did, but I’ll trust him for something. I love my church.

Monday – I’m so glad it’s my day off. Yesterday’s sermon was terrible. Maybe this week will be better.

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61 thoughts on “What Sermon Prep Really Looks Like”

  1. Abram says:

    All good stuff, but just to add that prepping agendas for meetings, “interruptions,” emails to parishioners, etc., are all vital parts of ministry, not just activities-that-keep-you-from-sermon-prep.

  2. Robin says:

    So comforting that I’m not the only one!! Thanks Kevin

  3. T A Davidson says:

    Time can get away from even the best I guess, but may I suggest prayer over the sermon a bit earlier in the week than Saturday. Prayer concerning the message should be the second thing mentioned in the daily morning prayer only second to thanking the LORD for the daily breath.

  4. Thanks Kevin, for being real.

  5. David Gough says:

    Thanks for this, Kevin. Man, can I identify! Grateful for the reminder that there are others going through the same challenges. Most in the pews would be unable to relate to this. And, sad to say, so would many pastors! Fortunately, there are those who sense the eternal implications of their call from the Lord. With every sermon I prepare, He is my primary motivation. That makes all the rest worthwhile.

  6. Hmm, this all sounds vaguely familiar. Thanks for the humor (and the conviction).

  7. I began a week and a half ago doing research on the text. Took a week to cover most of the stuff in my library (Commentaries, works on theology, doctrine), etc. Took 107 pages of notes, Prepared an outline, wrote the sermon twic3e, typed a preaching copy as third effort at learning and revising. Preached message this morning to about25-30 people. Subjuect, Divine Providence, text Ps.31:15, “My times are in your hand.” It was my 72nd birthday, and I used the Bible that is to be seen in a snapshot of my grandfather which sets on a bookshelf in our living room. He is posed as if looking at and meditating on the Bible (he read and prayed over it three times a day). Message seemd to be well-received.

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Kevin DeYoung


Kevin DeYoung is senior pastor of University Reformed Church (RCA) in East Lansing, Michigan, near Michigan State University. He and his wife Trisha have six young children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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