We like to make life hard for ourselves sometimes.
As pastors, one task stands above the rest:
Not the presenting sermons part, but the preparing sermons part.
If you’re anything like me, by Thursday the upcoming Sunday sermon is already looming in your mind.
You put yourself under an enormous of pressure, hiding away in your study for up to twenty hours with the weight of the world on your shoulders.
Just think about it:
Each and every week you’re expected to step up to the pulpit and deliver engaging, impactful, inspirational, spiritual and life-applicable messages.
And you prepare alone…
All cooped up by yourself and isolated…
Of course, God can speak to you as you prepare a sermon alone and He does.
I love nothing more than hearing a divine word of God straight from the throne room after an intense time of study and prayer.
There’s a time for this, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to prepare sermons alone 52 weeks of the year.
How did we get like this?
Perhaps it originated with Moses; ascending a mountain, receiving divine revelation, then descending to preach, “This is what God said.”
Since then, the model has remained largely unchanged, leaving many preachers feeling compelled to study and prepare alone.
If this is you then I have good news:
You are not Moses, you’re not an Old Testament prophet.
You don’t have to do this. There is a better way…
Planning and preparing sermons as a group improved my preaching significantly.
I saw a huge surge in my preaching as people started connecting with the messages like they’d never done before.
Why Do We Prepare Sermons In Solitary Confinement?
It’s only preparing sermons that come under our ‘must go it alone’ category, for everything else we build and collaborate with teams.
So how did we get like this?
1. It’s The Only Way We Saw Modelled
Most of us never thought there was an alternative way to prepare sermons.
Maybe you watched on as your pastor studiously writing 3-point sermon outlines in his office and never questioned it.
2. We Think It’s Solely The Role Of The Pastor
It’s the pastor’s job to preach every Sunday right?
God can only speak to the leader of the church and anything else would be a dilution of God’s divine sermon preparation process.
3. We Want To Take All The Credit
Intentionally or not, sometimes we fall into the trap of thinking if we lock ourselves in our studies for hours then everyone will be in awe at the profound truths God has shared solely with us.
Sharing the responsibility means sharing the credit.
If the whole team has come together to create a great sermon series, people may find out it wasn’t all your idea.
4. We Think Our Ideas Are The Best
Ever tried working with someone who thinks they know it all?
Caught yourself saying, “If you want a job doing, you’re better off doing it yourself”?
Why ask members what they thought of your sermon, I mean it’s not like they’ve been preaching for years like you have.
The truth is preparing sermons as a team requires some humility on our part.
5. We’ve Always Done It This Way
Perhaps you prepare alone for no other reason than it is just what you do.
I mean, if this is how most preachers do it then it can’t be that bad right?
We all work differently but here’s why I think it’s a whole lot easier, less stressful and more effective to prepare sermons (at least in part) in teams…
Elevate Your Preaching With Killer Sermons Academy 🎙️
3 Reasons Team Sermon Prep Is A Better Idea
Prepare sermons by yourself every single week and you’ll end up repeating the same stories, using the same illustrations and going back to your favourite verses.
Your preaching is at serious risk of becoming boring and predictable and nobody wants that!
But here 3 amazing things that happen when you start preparing sermons as a team:
1. You Preach Better 📈
By preparing sermons as a group, your preaching will become richer, deeper and more varied.
You no longer have to rely on your experiences or studies to come up with sermon illustrations and stories.
You’ll avoid the danger of just preaching from your favourite Bible verses or themes. You’ll have a much wider pool to fish from.
Not everyone is like you and having the ideas and creativity of different kinds of people means you are far more likely to connect with the different kinds of people in your congregation.
I always learn new ways of seeing things, new angles to approach God’s truth and fresh ideas when I collaborate with people who are not like me.
2. It Gives You A Safety Net 🥅
Preparing alone means we can get lost in our studies without realising it might not make sense to our intended audience.
Preparing sermons in a team means ensuring that your message points and application remain relevant and applicable.
Group preparation protects you from bad ideas.
3. It Takes The Pressure Off 😌
Though you may still have the final say, preparing sermons as a team means shared responsibility.
If God can speak to you then surely he can speak to a team.
It’s no longer down to you to come up with fresh and engaging content every Sunday.
“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.“
2 Ways You Can Prepare Sermons As A Team
There are essentially 2 ways you can do this depending on your personal preference:
Let’s go through them both.
This is the more informal approach and ideal if you’re not feeling ready for the structured method quite yet. At least you can start moving in the right direction.
If you’re like me then you work best when you’re bouncing ideas around with other people.
Think of building your sermon in layers and what kind of creative input you can get along the way.
Before Study Begins
Discuss your passage or sermon topic with others. Jot down any ideas generated from your discussions.
Once You’ve Begun Your Study
Take the initial concepts from your study and bounce them around.
Have conversations with others to find out what they’ve learned from the text.
Ask what experience or insights they have surrounding your proposed topic.
After You Have A Rough Sermon Outline
Talk it through with someone and ask for feedback. As you say it out loud, it’ll begin to take shape in your own mind.
After Preaching, Get Feedback
Ask people for meaningful feedback and don’t let them off the hook until they tell you something you can improve for next time.
If it was good, why?
If it was bad, why?
Let me tell you, nothing has made a bigger difference in the quality of my preaching than this.
I prepare as much as I can before getting together with the team.
Then by thinking and talking about it together, it’s refined and sharpened.
As I continue to study, I bounce ideas around with a lot of people and it helps me develop a more impactful sermon.
Your preaching prep team could be made up of assistant pastors and leaders, staff and volunteers, basically whoever you trust to give you honest feedback.
You could meet once a week or once a month (I like to plan out my sermon series ideas at the beginning of the year) and do this:
We pray for our upcoming Sunday service because even with the best prepared sermon in the world, we still need God to move in the hearts of His people.
Brainstorm Creative Ideas
The best starting point is to think about what God wants to do in the lives of your congregation.
Maybe he wants them to get rooted in His Word.
Maybe he wants them to discover their gifts and step up and serve.
Maybe he wants to set them free in the area of finance.
Think about what decorations, social media graphics and props you’re gonna need.
Give it a try and see what happens.
You’ll likely find preparing sermons in a team is much less of an arduous task, your sermons will see a noticeable improvement and who knows…
You might even start to enjoy the process! 🙂
Ready To Become A Better Preacher?
We preach as a labour of love and yet so many preachers are, well, let’s say less effective than we could be…
But when you take the time to invest in yourself as a preacher it’s a win-win.
You win by having a solid sermon system that takes the stress out of your sermon prep and your church wins because you preach better.
And that’s exactly why we’re on a mission to uncover the best preaching courses out there.
Here are the top ones we’ve found so far…
🏆 Best Preaching Courses 🏆
Are You Going To Try Team Sermon Prep?
Or is this something your church does already?
If so, tell us about it in the comments!
We’d love to hear how this works for you in your local setting.