Not everyone is a great administrator, but whether or not you identify as having that particular gift, as a preacher you will still need administration skills in order to fully release your gift of speaking.
1 Peter 4:10-11 encourages us that if your gift is speaking, speak–as though speaking the very words of God. And if your gift is serving, then serve as unto the Lord.
Those verses talk about stewarding, managing and administering the grace, or the gift, that God has given to each of us – and preaching is no exception!
Creative type people can be tempted to use their creativity as an excuse for their indiscipline and disorganisation, but the truth is, all of us can administer whatever grace God has given us.
1. Record stories, quotes, and resources
How often have you forgotten a quote, or details from a story, or the principles of an illustration idea – because you didn’t properly file it away?
Great preachers create systems where everything they may need to pull from in the future is recorded.
If it’s from a book, underline it and add it to a document in your Cloud (or another mobile storage device) so that you can access it whenever needed. If it’s a thought, add it to the notes on your phone.
Do whatever is going to work for you, but don’t rely on remembering everything.
2. Develop daily, weekly, monthly, and annual routines
Hopefully you are in the habit reading your Bible and other helpful books every day.
Every week you can record what you’ve spoken on during the last seven days. Perhaps record comments on the books that you’ve read.
Every month summarise the thoughts of your daily devotions and put them in a file.
Then, every year, go through each sermon that you’ve preached so that you have a record of it.
Whatever the frequency of the routines you decide on that work for you, be intentional about creating systems that help you find whatever you are looking for.
3. Create a message template
If you use a computer to write and prepare your sermons, take the time to create a message template that simply requires you to fill it in. It might include a place for the title, the date, where it will be delivered, your opening story, or bullet points of application.
This way, when it comes time to write a new message, all the basic structure is already there in one place.
4. Use a filing system
Producing an accessible filing system has never been easier – whether it be a USB that you take with you wherever you go, or documents stored in the Cloud, you’ll never have any trouble finding what you need when you need it.
In fact, Robert carries around with him a USB with every single sermon and lecture he has delivered since 1997.
Make a decision now to start administering your gifting, before you have hundreds – if not thousands – of messages to retrospectively organise.
5. Keep hard and soft copies
Depending on the circumstances, it can be easier to keep hard printed copies of a sermon on hand, and sometimes you might want access to a soft digital copy. Keeping your files organised and easily accessible will always come in handy.
Whatever your gift happens to be, don’t forget that you’ve got the capacity and responsibility to administer your God-given grace – and in doing so ensuring that many, many people will be blessed by it.
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