How to beat (sermon) writer's block in 3 steps

I don't know about you but I'm already thinking about next Sunday's message.

I've never been the type of pastor that can prepare messages 8 weeks in advance...

Because it needs to feel fresh to me for the passion and purpose to really shine.

So, I regularly find myself staring at the blank white screen with a growing sense of dread.

But over the past year I've discovered some great strategies that have helped me immensely!

And I'm gonna share them with you right now...

3 Ways To Beat Sermon Writer's Block For Good!

1) Use a template.

No, I'm not talking about grabbing notes from someone else online.

A template is a structure or guide that you fill with content.

For me it's 3 big sections.

A. Intro (usually introducing the current series and a story)

B. Text (Exegesis and Key Thoughts)

C. Points (usually 3 points with the last being a call to action and short conclusion/summary of the message)

2) Enter the "Deep Work" zone.

If you haven't read "Deep Work" by Cal Newport I highly recommend it!

Especially if you preach regularly.

The book exposes the massive drawbacks of the "always on, always connected, always available" society that we live in.

And shares some practical strategies for doing deep work.

That's probably the best definition for what we do as pastors.

Deep Work describes both deep learning and deep application.

In a connected world it's really hard to disconnect and spend the time/energy required to truly hear from God and bring a fresh message that equips and encourages the church.

But that's our job!

I've built a "Deep Work" routine that helps me disconnect and go deep.

I go into my office, close the door, open up a custom playlist of soft, instrumental piano music on Spotify (same song every time to start), set my phone down upside down on silent mode a few feet away from me.

Then I close all the notification tabs in my web browser to prevent interruptions.

I carve out at least 1 hour blocks.

Anything less than that is unhelpful for me because it often takes 5-10 minutes to get in the "zone."

After the first song ends I'm typically well on my way.

Try it.

3) Under prepare. Over pray.

If you're like me, your problem isn't preaching too short!

Can I get an amen?

Thing is, you have a well of wisdom that you've been digging for years.

And God's gifted you to preach/teach!

But it's our job as "feeders" of the flock to say what's necessary and helpful for the message...not everything we have to say on the topic!

Reminds me of the famous quip by Blaise Pascal:

"I have made this longer than usual because I have not had time to make it shorter."

The antidote to overly long sermons is to spend less time filling notes and more time on your knees.

Now, don't hear me saying the prep doesn't matter.

It does.

But maybe those extra 3 quotes from your favorite commentary or that hilarious story could go into next week's message?

There's a definite point when a message moves into over-prepared territory.

And when I feel that point coming on I stop...clean it up a bit...and then begin to pray over it.

I pray for those that will hear it.

I pray for myself to be able to deliver it with passion and clarity.

I pray for souls to be saved and disciples to be made.

Because a God-blessed sermon is what brings growth!

Hopefully 1 or more of those tips will make a difference in your sermon writing.

Have a wonderful day,

Pastor Jake