Thursday Tips: Prep

Dear Ginger,

Hi! I’m a freshman in high school and i go to a church where at one winter retreat you spoke to all the girls! Now I’m doing a sermon to my Bible class on 2 Timothy 1:3-12 (verse 7 is my main point) so I was wondering if maybe you could give me some ideas or pointers or anything to help me make an awesome sermon that everyone can enjoy, remember, and learn a lot from. -A

Dear A,

Great question. I feel like I’ve had several people ask me over the past year about how to develop a sermon, message or Bible Study. I don’t have a set list of “to do’s” every time that I speak, but I am happy to share some of the things that help me on a weekly basis!

1.  Know that section of Scripture well!
Read it over and over and fall in love with the Word of God. Your passion for the text will translate into the way you speak about it!

2. Read the passage in multiple translations.
Bible Gateway is a great resource for that. Sometimes I can better understand a passage if I read a different translation. At times New Century Version, New Living Translation, God’s Word Translation, New American Standard Version, the English Standard Version and the Message Version have ALL helped me to better understand a passage.

3. Read the whole chapter of the text that you are working with.
So if I’m speaking on Philippians 3:11-12, I’m at least going to read all of chapter 3, but I would probably understand the verses if I read ALL of Philippians. I should also look for the:
who
what
where
when
and why of a book (This video might help explain that further!)

4. When it’s finally time to develop the message the first step is to pray, and then pray some more!
I have to remind myself that getting guidance from the Lord is going to be the best tool. Sure, I might have lots of ideas for what to say to a group, but I know that God has the PERFECT take-aways for a message.

5. Identify one take-away.
My hope is that even if my audience is distracted or doesn’t pay attention to my whole message, they are at least able to summarize an important point from the message. After I’ve studied and prayed I simplify and write that one phrase or take-away at the top of my notes. Something like “God is the ONLY thing that will ever satisfy” or “God’s promises are all GOOD!”

6. Open up some resources!
Once I have studied and prayed about a passage on my own, I then utilize all the resources I have at my disposal. Here’s a retro Thursday Tip video that will show you what I mean!

Last bits of advice:
Stay real and vulnerable. No one wants to hear how we’ve got it all together.
Keep the message simple.
Practice, practice, practice. The more comfortable you are with your message, the more comfortable your audience will be.
Remember that enthusiasm and energy play a big part in your delivery!
Pray some more.

A- I hope this helps. I can’t wait to hear how the class goes!

Following and Listening,
Ginger