It’s time to write your next sermon…
You’ve spent time in prayer and in the Word. Now it’s time to write your sermon.
What’s the first question that comes to mind? For most pastors, it’s this: What am I going to say?
This is because we think of sermons primarily as talks. The pastor’s job is to prepare a speech that will (hopefully) bring the congregation closer to Jesus. It’s a mouth-to-ear experience.
As a result, pastors agonize over the words they plan to say but give little thought to what the congregation is going to see. The pastor may put some text up on the screen or maybe a picture or two, but these are usually an afterthought.
This is precisely the opposite of how pastors should approach sermon preparation in our visual age. If you’re going to contend for the Gospel in the attention economy this must be your first question: What am I going to show?
Some advice from a TV producer
I’ve spent the past four decades working in the television business. I’ve written hundreds of TV scripts. Long before I write the narration, I plan my visuals. Here are some of the questions I ask:
- What will people see?
- What scenes do we need to shoot?
- What graphics will I need to support my subject?
- Would an interview be better than a narrator?
- What cover shots and B-roll can I capture?
Now, obviously you don’t need all these things to preach a powerful sermon. But the first question is valid: What will people see while I’m preaching? The more visual your sermon, the more likely it is to be shared.
Here’s a powerful example. In the mid 2000s, an unknown California preacher named Francis Chan began adding object lessons to his sermons. His Balance Beam and Rope illustrations launched him as a nationally prominent writer and speaker. Both have been seen and shared millions of times: