How to Prepare to Preach When You Have No Time

According to an unscientific poll, Thom Rainer found that approximately 70% of pastors spend 10 to 18 hours in sermon preparation before preaching.

What about the pastors without 10–18 hours?

Many pastors (especially bi-vocational pastors and church planters) have to balance the rigors of a full-time job, family responsibilities, and shepherding the flock into their work week, and an extra 10 hours isn’t possible. And what if someone dies? Last-minute funeral sermons don’t prepare themselves during already busy weeks.

What is one to do?

This is a question we think about regularly, usually in regard to bi-vocational pastors we train around the world. My colleague and LRI trainer, Sean Martin, suggests overloaded preachers consider this simple method for squeezing in more prep time:

  1. Get up thirty minutes earlier than normal and work your way through the text with a hermeneutical principle, taking notes along the way. For example, Monday might be the day for Asking Good Questions, while on Tuesday you consider the structure of the passage.
  2. Keep your notepad with you during the week, and squeeze in times of meditation and reflection on your text, taking notes as thoughts percolate. Your lunch hour may prove fruitful, as well as other random times in the day.
  3. Before bed, take 20 or 30 minutes more to think and pray through the text.

When this is faithfully practiced during the week, it may open up an additional five or six hours for study and meditation on your text.

  1. Come Saturday, a substantial part of the work is done, and you would then need to organize your thoughts and finalize sermon details.

Six months after recommending this method to a group of Haitian pastors we train in exposition, Sean returned and asked what was new. Arnaud, a bi-vocational pastor, eagerly shared how much of a difference this method made in his preaching. With extra study and meditation time, and thus a better grasp of the passage, Arnaud testified that this method has changed him. Now he feels more confident handling God’s Word, and many in his congregation have noticed a positive difference.

Pastor Arnaud (blue shirt) works through 2 Timothy with other pastors in Training National Trainers program.

While there are reasons why following this method isn’t the ideal situation, many busy pastors will never have the “ideal.” If you are able to have considerable sermon prep time, rejoice!—and don’t take your privilege lightly.

But if you struggle to balance full-time work with shepherding your flock, take heart that God knows your situation. He is not a taskmaster demanding you prepare more hours than you are able. He knows your sacrifice and effort. Do the best you can with your time, and pray for grace in your preparation and preaching of God’s Word. God will both help you and honor His Word.

One-to-One Bible Reading Video Seminar with David Helm

One-to-One Bible Reading Video Seminar - Pastor David Helm

Leadership Resources champions expositional Word ministry of any kind because the Word of God alone has the power to bring life and transform. For that reason, we love recommending believers to read the Bible one-to-one with others; it is indeed a simple way to fulfill the Great Commission.

David Helm, pastor and author of One-to-One Bible Reading and friend of LRI, presented the following seminar at Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland. The seminar is courtesy of Matthias Media and Reading121.org.


OVERVIEW: HOW THE COURSE WORKS
This online course is a way to share the idea of One-to-One Bible Reading with a group, to encourage others to get started with it. The course consists of four lessons that may be enjoyed by groups of any age or size. It’s for adult Sunday school classes, home groups, youth groups, or just a few friends who want to give themselves to reading the Bible. It can be used by churches to promote the idea at a half-day seminar. Or it can be used by Christians anywhere to simply share the idea informally.

Each lesson consists of three parts: Watch, Discuss, and Interact. You can use all the parts or only one or two. However you want to make use of the materials, each lesson is designed to be used in a 45-60 minute time slot. But, with discussion, it can certainly be expanded. To watch the videos and access the discussion PDFs, click on the lessons below to be directed to Reading121.org.

Lesson 1: What is it? Why do it?

Lesson 2: Who is it for?

Lesson 3: How can I get started? (Part 1)

Lesson 4: How can I get started? (Part 2)


For a shorter introduction to the what, why, and how of one-to-one Bible reading, listen to this interview with LRI’s Program Director of Europe Sean Martin (or read transcript):

Bonus Resources:

31 Days of Prayer for LRI

Dear Friends & Partners,

Colossians 1 and many other passages make it clear that God accomplishes his purposes through prayer and through people. Please, would you join us this year in seeking God for powerful Movements of the Word worldwide?

Our team has written 31 specific prayers connected to what we believe the Lord intends to accomplish through Leadership Resources. Please print this letter (you can use this PDF) and put it on your refrigerator or in your Bible to remind you to pray regularly (even daily!) for us. If you are interested in a set of prayer cards for twelve of the countries in which we work, let us know by sending us a message with the title “Prayer cards.” (Sorry, only available for US addresses.)

Thank you for partnering with us in this most essential way. We so look forward to all that the Lord will do in 2018 as he answers these prayers!

With much gratitude in Christ,

Craig Parro

President


  1. Praise God for how he used LRI and our partners to equip pastors in 40 countries this past year. How amazing that He uses ordinary people like us! (Ephesians 2:8-10).
  2. Pray that our confidence in the Lord of history and redemption would be expressed through fervent, ongoing prayer (Acts 4:23-36).
  3. Pray for communications, rebranding, and new website initiatives.
  4. Pray that God would grant us favor in hiring new staff, as we work with one another, and as we consider better ways to further the work.
  5. Pray for staff growth in love, hope, faith, and humility.
  6. Pray for God to guide LRI to discern the best opportunities for ministry and growth—what to say “yes” to as well as what to say “no” to.
  7. Pray for an expanded partner development team, fiscal health for the organization, and a deeper donor base to support the work.
  8. Pray for the development, definition, and launching of Global and Country Leadership Teams worldwide.
  9. Pray for faith that God will sustain us all and meet all of our needs because He is faithful.
  10. Pray for divine protection from men, ideas, and governments hostile to the gospel.
  11. Pray for staff needs: a North America Regional Director, an expanded Development department, and critical support staff.
  12. North America: Pray for more U.S. churches to partner with us in ministry and finances to launch Movements of the Word in the U.S. and around the world.
  13. North America: Pray for U.S. pastors in existing groups to catch the vision for our work around the world.
  14. Russia/Central Asia/Europe: Pray for the growth of Russian Mentor Trainers and an expanded impact through their ministry.
  15. Russia/Central Asia/Europe: Pray for new training groups of pastors in Central Asia.
  16. Russia/Central Asia/Europe: Pray for expansion into Europe and for wise leadership for Sean Martin, Europe’s Program Director.
  17. Africa: Pray for wise and godly leadership from our country directors: Jacques (Uganda), Eshete (Ethiopia), Joseph and Francis (Kenya), and Peter (Tanzania).
  18. Africa: Pray for God to strengthen a long-lasting Movement of the Word across the continent.
  19. Africa: Pray for potential new trainings in the Middle East.
  20. Asia: Pray for God to raise up a country director for India and for guidance in future trainings in this massive and diverse country.
  21. Asia: Pray for guidance and a unified vision for the leadership team in a country in East Asia.
  22. Asia: Pray that the rapid growth of our training in a country in South Asia would maintain quality and for more faithful movement leaders.
  23. SE Asia: Pray for the selection and development of National Mentors in Indonesia.
  24. SE Asia: Pray for national leaders in the Philippines (Lito, Larry, and Neil) to wisely lead a growing Movement of the Word in their country.
  25. SE Asia: Pray for God to raise up the right men to lead a Movement of the Word in Myanmar.
  26. Latin America: Pray for the development of national leadership teams and Mentor Trainers in the region.
  27. Latin America: Pray for needed funding for the region from like-minded U.S. and Latin American partners.
  28. Latin America: Pray for guidance and provision for potential training opportunities in both Chile and Mexico.
  29. Pray for spiritual refreshment and strength for LRI staff members, as ministry schedules can be tiring.
  30. Pray for safety in travels for LRI trainers, Mentor Trainers, and those who travel to be trained.
  31. Pray for the Lord’s grace for LRI spouses and families as their loved ones travel for the Lord’s work.

 

     

    Launching Pastoral Training Movements Worldwide

     

    The mission of Leadership Resources is to launch pastoral training movements worldwide. This blog shares articles, resources, and updates from staff of God’s work around the world through our training. If you’re new to our blog, start here.

     


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