As individuals the process of preparing a message to preach will vary significantly from preacher to preacher (and there is no one correct way either), however when writing your message it is crucial that you are able to answer these three questions:
1. Have I heard from God?
It is important that the messages you preach come out of the revelations you get from God. People didn’t come to hear from you, they came to hear from God. It’s therefore important to be disciplined in spending your own personal time with God to hear what He wants to speak into your life and into the lives of the people in your church.
Position yourself so that the Holy Spirit can speak to you in your preparation, and speak through you when you’re preaching.
2. Have I taken the time to prepare?
Pastor Brian talks about the supernatural and the natural – to be anointed and to be informed. Yes, it’s important to hear from the Holy Spirit when preparing a message, but also do your due diligence to practically prepare as much as you can. Read commentaries, get new angles on certain scriptures and use different translations. Put yourself in the content of the Bible – know its context, history, geography, cultures, customs and behaviour.
Find out what’s happening in the world and in people’s lives. Have a newspaper in one hand and a Bible in the other when preparing a message so that you can talk about how the scriptures can be applied in today’s society. Stay close to the people that come to your church. Stay close to the brokenness of people – this will help you connect to people the most.
3. Have I made this applicable and useful?
Pastor Brian speaks of preaching as a stepladder to victory. Each point that you make should help someone step up from where they are. Don’t just preach to people’s Sunday, but preach to their Mondays. Preach sermons that can be applied while they are getting on with their lives throughout the week.
Great preachers are able to talk about the Bible in all its depth and combine that with simple and applicable next steps for people to carry out. At the end of the day, preaching is about helping people, not impressing people. There is no point in explaining the Greek and Hebrew translations if you’re not making it applicable for people’s lives.
Ultimately, find what works for you when it comes to writing a message. But in your process, make sure that you are hearing from God, that you are putting in the necessary preparation and that the sermon can be easily applied to a person’s life.
This thought was originally shared during a Preaching training session hosted by our Hillsong platform team during our ‘Online Open Week’ in February 2016. Online Open Week is your opportunity to receive impartation and training direct from the Hillsong team through live webinars.
If you would like to watch the full recording or find out more about future events from the Hillsong Leadership Network, join as a complimentary ‘Associate’ on the link below.