Cut Sermon Prep Time In Half

You Face a Gigantic Challenge Every Week.

You must preach, one, two and possibly three sermons to a congregation that has already heard you speak many times. This is a gargantuan task because your congregation expects your sermons to be fresh, interesting, dynamic and challenging. They are looking to you to bring them a fresh insight from the Bible. They are looking to you to bring them guidance for their lives. They are expecting you to challenge them, inspire them and motivate them. They want a personal message. Not something generic, not something canned or copied. They deserve to receive God's message for them for that particular moment.

Not Enough Hours in the Week

To meet this challenge requires hours of research and study. It requires time spent secluded with God's word, mining its riches for just the right nugget for that sermon. However, there is a problem. Your ministry has other obligations also. There are visits to the hospital and visits to prospects in addition to organizational meetings, civic meetings and the many other administrative tasks of the ministry. With only one hundred sixty eight hours in a week, how can you do everything expected and required of you and spend the necessary time to properly prepare your sermons?

Do You Borrow OPS?

Many good preachers rely on using the sermons of other preachers. You may find yourself in a pinch for time, so you open a book of sermons or a collection of sermon outlines and you copy a sermon. The sermon you borrow doesn't exactly fit your style, it doesn't exactly fit your congregation's needs, it isn't exactly right. But it will do for this time.
The problem is that this becomes a habit. You find yourself relying on OPS (other preacher's sermons) more and more. In this age of Internet access you can subscribe to sermon outline services, you can download collections of sermons. You can get sermons with power point presentations, illustrations and the total dog and pony show. But are these what you really want or what your people need?

Whooping and Rambling

Sometimes you enter the pulpit unprepared. You have an unclear idea of what you want to preach and you are not organized. You do not have a sermon, just an idea. So you begin to preach without a clear directions and soon start rambling.  Sometimes you lose your way in a sermon and start whooping to fill the time. This is not what you want.

What You Really Want

You want to be able to write your own sermons. You want to preach sermons that speak to your particular congregation, not some generic congregation. You want to be able to preach to your people about their situation. You want to be able to study rapidly and effectively and produce quality messages for your people. You want to be able to preach with power and effectiveness.

Cut Sermon Preparation Time in Half

What if you could find a way to cut your sermon preparation time in half? What would that be worth to you? Suppose there was a technique that would supercharge your ability to see the natural divisions of a scripture and come up with perfect points for your sermon. What is that worth? What if there was a method of organizing a sermon that would make your messages perfectly clear to your congregation? What if I could show you a way to preach so that your congregation will respond to your sermons? Would it be worth a few hours per week to learn these methods and techniques? You bet it would.

If you only saved four hours per week in preparation, that is over TWO HUNDRED hours per year! What could you do with that extra time?

What would it mean to your congregation if your sermons became more pointed and effective? What would happen to your ministry if your preaching was more dynamic and interesting?

Your Ministry Will Grow

Let me tell you what would happen. Your ministry will grow! Your influence will expand. Your effectiveness for God will increase. My friend you cannot put a price tag on that! The Preaching with Power course can transform your preaching.

Click Here To Continue  - SERMONS

Powerful Sermons

Sermon Structure

A sermon is oral communication.  A sermon is not a literary work or an essay.  In fact, a sermon does not exist until it is spoken.  A sermon is a dynamic, living communication between the preacher and the congregation.  With this in mind what is the best structure for a sermon.

Considering the shortness of the human attention span and the limited ability of the mind to navigate convoluted, complex ideas, I recommend that sermons be direct and to the point.  I believe the three point sermon beginning with an introduction and concluding with a call to action is the best form.  Why? It forces the preacher to get to the point of the message.  It gives the preacher a frame work, with which to work.  The three point sermon is easy for the congregation to follow, and easy for them to remember.

In the Preaching with Power course I teach you how to master the techniques of the three point sermon.   Not only do I teach the techniques I also show you how to study rapidly and effectively so you can develop your three point sermons in a short amount of time.

You can read more about this course by clicking here - sermon writing -
Sermon writing and preaching are skills that can be learned.  When you attend college or seminary you receive the formal theological education necessary for understanding the scripture but you do not learn to preach.  You can learn to preach by taking a course that focuses exclusively on the mental skills and strategies of sermon writing.  How to Preach with Power is exactly this kind of course.  In this course you learn to think like a preacher.  You learn to outline sermons, illustrate sermons, sermon delivery and even how to use humor in sermons.  Preach with Power can transform your pulpit ministry.  Try this sermon course for 60 days and if it does not make you a better preacher just return it for a full refund.

Long Sermons

The length of the average sermon has changed over the past century.  Even 4 decades ago it was not unusual for a sermon to last over one hour.  Today if you preach over an hour your congregation will grow restless and a lot of people will even get up an leave.  What has changed?

Two main factors have changed in our culture that effect the length of time people are willing to sit in church and listen to a sermon.  First of all I believe that people have become more impatient.  We live in an instant world.  We have instant grits (I am from the South) instant potatoes, instant coffee, instant tea, instant cameras, fast food restaurants, fast lanes and now people need fast sermons.  We have become accustomed to having our news condensed from a multi-page newspaper to the Headline News channel where you get 'all the news' every 10 minutes.  I am not surprised that our congregations are impatient with long sermons. 

The second factor is that we are bombarded with an overload of intensely stimulating entertainment.  Almost everyone is addicted to TV and its hyper-stimulation of our senses.  For a show to become top rated is must be bigger, louder, more action packed than its competition.  As a result we have become numb to the more subtile values of speech and personal relationships.  A sermon doesn't have the sensory impact of a TV show.   As a result the modern, over stimulated, listener soon loses interest in a sermon.  So, what are we to do about it.

First of all we need NOT to try to compete with the worldly entertainment industry.  Bigger, louder, more exciting and more 'show biz', is not the answer.  Preaching and sermons are not to be entertaining.  However, they don't have to be boring. 

need to be interesting and they CAN be if the preacher will spend the time and energy to properly develop them and relate them to the congregation.  The biggest problem with sermons today is that they are delivered to the wrong part of the human body.  In general sermons should be aimed at the heart, not the head.  They should be delivered from the heart of the preacher not his head.  This means that he needs to be intense and intensely believe in the message he is delivering.  Sermons are boring because the preacher is bored.  The same preacher who will scream and holler at his son's football game comes to the pulpit cold and without passion.  A sermon delivered without passion is just a speech (a boring one). 

If we are to overcome the short attention span of the modern listener it will be because we grab his attention with our passion.  Be passionate, catch fire, and preach an organized message with fervor. 

Of course it takes more than wildfire to win men to the Lord and it takes more than unbridled enthusiasm to build a church.  I will speak more about this next week.  Until then, I suggest you check out the  sermon and preaching course called Preaching with Power.  It will teach you the techniques that allow your passion and enthusiasm to be harnessed and applied to the sermon.

How to Preach

without notes frees the preacher from the mental cage of his written outline.  It allows more freedom of the intellect and allows the preacher to more freely interact with the congregation.  When I say preaching without notes I do not mean extemporaneous speaking or speaking off the cuff.  To be effective in the pulpit the preacher must have prepared himself and his sermon.  Preaching without notes does not mean that you are speaking without a plan or without an outline.  It means that the outline and the plan are so thoroughly known that you do not need to refer to your notes.

To preach without notes is not that difficult.  If you have studied the Preaching with Power course you already know that the final form of the sermon is the result of a process of study.  It wasn't born in a moment but the sermon developed over time and through several stages into the final form.  To take that sermon outline and preach it without notes requires two additional steps of planning.

After the sermon is complete and you have practiced it several times to gain familiarity with the tempo, pace and feel of the wording you need to begin committing it to memory.  Not memorizing it word for word, but actually learning the outline.  Here is a simple mnemonic device that will help you to do that easily.  Just take a walk!

Here is what I do.  First of all most of my sermons have three points and about two or three sub points under each main point.  So I take a walk through my house entering 3 different rooms.  Each room is associated in my mind with a main point of the sermon.  To make this work for you you need to use your imagination.  For instance.  I would walk into the kitchen and view the room from my left to my right.  The first appliance is the refrigerator so I would peg my main point the the fridge.  I would imagine that point as a giant refrigerator magnet on the door.  The the first sub point would be pegged to the sink.  I would imagine it soaking in the dish water.  Then you continue around the room with your points.  Then on the the next room for major point number two.  Perhaps the bedroom.  The major point will be pegged to the first item on my left as I enter the room.  A chest of drawers.  I would paint a vivid and silly picture of that point sticking out of an open drawer.  The the first sub point would be on the dresser and the second in the closet.  You get the idea?

When you practice the sermon it is important that you actually walk into these rooms while learning the points.  Stand in the same spot each time and paint a vivid and exagerated mental picture of that point interacting with a piece of furniture.  After doing this several times you can sit in your study and review the outline because you know the arrangement of the furniture and this will remind you of its associated point.

Each week you can select a different familiar place for your memory walk.  The church, your front yard.  A familiar store.  After several weeks of practice you will discover that you can peg an entire sermon to just one room of your house.

The beauty of this system is that you do not have to worry about forgetting the points of your sermon.  You KNOW where your refrigerator is and it will jog your brain to remember the silly picture of the GIANT magnet on the door with your first point.

With this method, preaching without notes doesn't degenerate into a rambling chain of thoughts.  The sermon remains organized and to a point.
Want to know more about the course?  Click here for the details Sermon Course
How to set up MS WORD for easy sermon format

Sermon outlining has become simple with the introduction of the outline features on most modern word processing programs.  But like any other skill, you must practice using these programs if you are to become proficient.  Until you do become proficient the outline programs actually seem to get in the way of smooth writing.
The following paragraphs tell my method of outlining with my word processor

I don't like to carry 8 1/2 x 11 sheets of paper into the pulpit for two reasons.  First, they take up too much room, and second, I can write too much on that large of a sheet of paper.  It tends to allow me to outline sermons that are too long.  So instead I fold an 8 1/2 sheet of paper in half to make four  8 1/2x 5 1/4  pages.  To visualize this think of your normal church bulletin which is a booklet of 4 pages 8 1/2 x 5 1/4. 

I use Microsoft Word as my word processer and set the page size at 5 1/4 wide and 8 1/2 high.  I usually use 10pt font.  I reduce the margins to about 1/4 inch all around.  To follow my method you will now create a text box on each of the 4 pages taking up all the page except for the margins you decide to use.  These text boxes can be resized on the fly if you wish to change them.  Now, using the linking feature, you begin linking the text boxes so the text will flow from box to box as your sermon grows.  Remember you actually start with page one being on the right side of the first sheet and page 4 on the left side.  Page two and three are on the inside so they will be on sheet two.  (I know this is comfusing so instead of trying to follow this detailed description just download the MS WORD template from the form on the left side of this web page.)

As you type your sermon the text will flow from box to box onto the appropriate part of the page.  The only tricky part is printing out the sheet front and back.  But you can usually figure this out quickly by trial and error.  Every printer is different so you will have to work this out yourself. 

When typing the sermon I use MS WORD.  If you have this program you can turn on the outline feature by going to the Format menu and clicking on Bulletts and Numbering.  On this sub-menu go to the Numbered Outline tab and select the outlining format you prefer.  I suggest that you allow much more time for your sermon typing, the first few times you use this automatic outlining feature.  It can be a little frustrating at first, untill you get the hang of it. 

When you get used to this it can really streamline you sermon writing process because it allows you to cut and paste easily, and to insert thoughts into the outline without haveing to redo the whole thing.

Check the side bar for the FREE SERMON TEMPLATE DOWNLOAD of the MS WORD Template I use.
To stand before a congregation and preach God's word is one of the greatest responsibilities a person can have.  To do this two or three times per week is one of the greatest tasks a person can have.  To prepare two or three fresh, timely, interesting and inspiring sermons is a monumental undertaking.  No wonder so many preachers surf the web searching for ideas and sermon material.  Sermon preparation and preaching should not be a task as much as it should be a process.

Your responsibilities to preach effective sermons never ends.  As soon as one message is delivered another must be almost ready and yet another must be on the back burner.  So I contend that what we preachers need is to learn the 'process' of sermon development not just learning 'how to' write 'A' sermon.  Almost all courses in homeletics deal with the 'how to' and do not emphasize the continuing process.  I will admit that we need to know the "how to", but that is not all.  Because of this in the Preaching With Power course I teach you, not only the "how to" but the process of studying continually to keep your sermon pipeline full.  If you will adopt the strategy taught in the Preaching with Power course you will never find yourself burning the midnight oil Saturday night working on Sunday morning's sermon.

Sermons that are thrown together because "Sunday is coming" are weak, pointless and full of catch phrases and clichés.  Your congregation deserves better, your God deserves better.  Take a minute and check out the Preaching with Power course and evaluate it for yourself.  If you think it might help you improve your preaching give it a try.  Click here to read about the course. SERMON COURSE

Do you want to learn the fastest method of creating a GOOD sermon outline?

Then you need to check out my newest book.  In this book I teach you a method of unleashing your imagination and of opening your mind to the inspiration of God.  If you apply these techniques you will be making GREAT outlines 80% faster than you are now.  Click here - Sermon Outline Book - to read more.
Pastor Marsh,
I have just completed your Preaching with Power Course! I enjoyed reading about your philosophy of preaching. The assignments at the end of each chapter really helped me focus my energies and become much more disciplined in my sermon preparation.
Rebera Foston,M.D., DMin

Pastor Marsh
Your program is just what it claimed to be, I have been preaching for 3-4 years and I am the Pastor of a start up church for two of them and i have found your course to be the best, a great asset to my ministry, of all the courses and books i have read and been through, this one has been the one that has given me the ability to preach with power. I Thank You for being there every time i have needed you to be.  Thanks So much i praise the Lord for you and your course.

Brother Fallon
Pastor of Grace Baptist Church
Burl, Ma.

Dear Walt,
    Thank you so much for the help. The preaching with power series and the online help have been a blessing. I have and am using many if not most of the book every week.
    Again, thank you for caring enough to share with us who are younger and inexperienced and so busy that we can't see straight.
    May God continue to bless your ministry of help and your preaching ministry.

    Scott Conner


There is no shortcut to becoming a good preacher.  It will take dedication and practice.  You will never become a good preacher by continually using other preacher's sermons.  You will not train your mind to find the hidden structure in scripture and you will not become adept at expressing the truths of scripture in your own words.  By constantly getting your ideas and sermons from the Internet or from sermon books you are robbing yourself of the priviledge of having inspiration from God.  You are also short changing your congregation because the sermons you preach were not specially created for them, they were just 'hand-me-downs" that may not fit properly.

It is for this reason I encourage you to learn to preach with power.  The course I teach will give you everything you need to create your own sermons with ease.  If you take the course you will be able to preach sermons that will speak to the heart of YOUR congregation because the sermon was designed with them in mind.  You will feel good by knowing that God inspired this particular sermon into your mind.  It wasn't copied, it wasn't simply a re-creation of somebody else's sermon.

If you find yourself preaching other people's sermons more than once per month, you need to seriously consider investing in the course.  Preaching With Power can supercharge your ministry.

Click here for the Preaching with Power Sermon writing and Preaching course

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This book has all the ministry resources you need "In a nutshell."  Weddings, funerals,  special services, meetings, letters, resumes, advice, plus much more of the things a new pastor needs.  Click here - New Pastor Guide - to read more about whats in this fantastic resource.
To find some good sermons to preach click here SERMON OUTLINES a new page will open on my other site called Preaching With Power
good sermon outlines
Cut your sermon preparation time in half after studying the methods of the Preaching With Power course
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