Determining HOW to Preach the Text: Look Around
You’ve determined what text to preach.
Although this is hard work (I hate to say this, BUT. . . ), it is not the most difficult part of sermon prep. Resources abound to help you determine the meaning of a text. But NO ONE has written a book on how to preach it to YOUR people. There are tons of experts on the Bible you can glean from. Chances are, other than you, there are zero experts on your current congregation.
Your job now is to think through (translation: mentally work with blood, sweat and tears) how to package the sermon so that your people pay attention; are compelled; are challenged; learn; encouraged; and eager to do something with what you have shared. This is no easy task.
Let me give you a simple and easy way to help you get started in this process: Look Around.
That’s right. Pay attention to what is going on around you. Lean in to surrounding situations and circumstances. Personal situations. Family situations. Circumstances in your church. The news (local, national, and international). The weather. Sports.
I am often amazed at how things that happen around me are things the Lord is teaching me about the text of Scripture I am working through for Sunday! It’s almost as if He knows what I am preaching on and wants to help me apply it to the people! (For any legalists out there, I DO KNOW the Lord knows. . . I am trying to be funny.)
As you are working through the text, pay attention to circumstances, situations, quotes, headlines, conversations, questions, etc. Don’t force something that isn’t there. But do be sensitive to what is happening right in front of your face that may be applicable to what you are learning about the text you plan to preach.