My Sermon Writing Method

2013-10-30 10.46.06I have an ever evolving sermon creation method. I am not a gifted speaker. But I have become a bit of a student of the artform. I ultimately see the sermon as an oral artform and rarely write a manuscript. Instead I have this method of gathering data and creating a ‘pathway’ for the message. I have created an Evernote Data Sheet for this method, which you can copy here. It is also below with explanations. This is something I try to complete on Mondays.


I place the text at the top of the Template. I will highlight the Lectio Divina section and underline words that I have researched.


This is a matrix of resources from which I can draw the material of the message. Fred Craddock told me this is what he does on Mondays. 

  • Look ups (Items in the text to research. I have a base standard of researching at least four items in the text (names, places, cross-references, etc.)
  • Lectio Divina (This is a subjective reading approach by which I can prayerfully explore my spiritual connection to the text. By this I allow the text to “read me”.)
  • People (I have created this list to help me remember people from different times in my life. I will “call up” connections to people. I will highlight that person and add a note.)
  • Places (Significant places by which I can draw material and inspiration. I will “call up” connections to places. I will highlight that place and add a note.)
  • Eras (Significant times in my life. I will “call up” connections to times in my life. I will highlight that era and add a note.)

For People, Places and Eras, I made a big list and saved it to the template. During my data gathering time (Monday morning), I highlight the significant people, places and eras and add notes.


This is a matrix of sermon creation techniques from which I can methodically organize my thoughts and create a path for the message.

  • Images & Hooks (Ways to capture people’s attention or to draw them into a deeper level in the message.)
  • Current Events (Reminds me to speak to relevant matters of communal concern.)
    1. Local:
    2. National:
    3. International:
    4. Other:
  • Four Pages of the Sermon (Technique from book read in seminary. Helps me see connections between scripture and the world.)
    • Trouble in the Text
    • Trouble in the World
    • Grace in the Text
    • Grace in the World
  • Lowry Loop (The sermon as a plot line. Can also be utilized for the rest of the liturgy.)
    1. Disturbing the Equilibrium
    2. Understanding the Problem
    3. Disclosing the clue (hookish)
    4. Experiencing the Gospel
    5. Anticipating the Consequences
  • Multiple Intelligences (Helps remind me to teach in various ways. I at least think about 3-4 “intelligences” by which to share the message. These may shape the liturgy or the worship space as well as the sermon itself.)
    • Musical
    • Visual
    • Verbal
    • Logical
    • Bodily
    • Interpersonal (relational)
    • Introspective
    • Naturalistic
    • Existential
  • Mnemonic Devices (Verbal techniques to help people learn and remember the message.)
  • Doctrinal Web (Systematic approach to mapping out connections between and ramifications of our beliefs. Book highlighted here is from seminary professor who illuminates this to great detail.)

Here is the Monday morning method for me. Again, click here to get the template in Evernote. Or copy and paste. Good luck.

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