sermon planning worksheet

I was privileged to be part of the sermonsmith podcast a few weeks ago. In my interview I mentioned my sermon planning worksheet. I have been getting questions about this sheet, so I decided to tell a little more about it.

To get the free worksheet-just click this image. 


Why I use a sermon planning worksheet

I really prefer having a physical document to orient my sermon preparation. I have found beginning a sermon on this sheet and letting it be for a couple of weeks is a great jump start to my weekly preparation. I have used variations of this sheet for years. In seminary, it was really focused on structural relationships and verb forms. A later version had big space for word study. Over the last couple of years it has evolved towards communication. Once I have a good understanding of the most important thing I can communicate, the sheet helps me trim down and not rabbit trail.

I do leave space for some extra things. I file these sheets away and I am hoping one day they will be a resource to someone.

The major thrust of my current version of the sheet reflects a set of questions at the core of Preaching rocket.

1. What is my message about?
2. What is at stake?
3. What do I want you (them) to do?
4. What is my bottomline?

After working weekly with those four questions and examining both my preparation and content/delivery of my sermons I realized a weakness I need to work on. It was actually glaring (to me. I needed to learn to better preach towards response. You would figure me growing up baptist this wouldn’t be hard. My preaching naturally defaults towards teaching so I need to start spending some time working on response. So the worksheet was modified again!

These are now the sections on my sheet. You can download a copy at the bottom of the post and see how I structure them.

1. What is my text/title?
2. What is my message about?
3. What is my big idea?
4. Important words/phrases5. Relationships/Structures
6. Backstory
7. How does this change my life?
8. What do I need to do?

You can see the evolution of my preaching in this current sheet. The heavy exegetical stuff is still there, but the newer additions to the sheet keep it focused. Asking the last two questions reminds me of what the most important part of proclamation is. God’s word never leaves us the same.

Should you use my sheet? Well, you can if you want…but I think you could easily come up with something better. What I encourage you to do is begin a process of discovering what helps you plan sermons best. I would love for you to share yours with me.

Related Posts:
My Favorite Resources for Modern Preaching
The Easiest Way to Preach Better Sermons
Teaching a Retreat? Here’s How I Plan


Other Resources:
Communicating For A Change: Andy Stanley (Great book for those looking at 1 point preaching)
Narrative Reading, Narrative Preaching: Reuniting New Testament Interpretation and Proclamation: Joel B Green and Michael Pasquarello For anyone who doesn’t believe preaching cannot be a marriage between the intellect and the heart needs to read this book. Dr. Pasquarello was my adviser and reader when I wrote my master’s thesis on preaching Revelation. This needs to be part of every preachers library.
Jonathan Andersen’s Exegetical Worksheet. This comes from the episode 2 of the productive pastor (link is in the shownotes). Jonathan does a great job putting together a sheet to guide exegesis.