One of the game changers for ministers is to prepare each week to preach and teach as well as to put something in the “crockpot.” Here is another way of saying this:
Teach/preach this week but prepare for the future.
Every seven days, I preach a sermon. Sundays seem to come around with great regularity. Most preachers I know not only have to prepare a sermon each week but also have to prepare to teach Bible classes. (At one point in my ministry, I preached two different sermons each Sunday. Many preachers still do this.) No matter how you come at this, these presentations demand much preparation.
Yet, there are some texts and some subjects that take longer than a week to prepare. Quite often when I preach a particular series on Sunday mornings, it is something I have been working on for months. There are some sermons I have been thinking about for years.
When a minister must preach every seven days, it is very easy to preach something long before you are ready. Sermons that are “microwaved’ may be ready after a few days, yet after awhile you may realize that some topics and some texts need much more work. That is, some of the best preparation may be when a text or topic has been allowed to slowly cook in the “crockpot” of your mind over a period of weeks, months, or years.
“But how do I do this when I have so much preparation to do for this week? How do I have time to let anything cook slowly?”
- Read something that has nothing to do with your sermon series or next class
- Observe life
- Listen to people
- Pay attention to what is happening around you
- Cultivate your curiosity
Take notes on your thoughts and feelings regarding these. Write down what is interesting. Don’t worry about how you might “use” it. Just let the crockpot do its work.
Read the Bible. Read outside your series or the book you are teaching in class. Pray each day and make notes regarding what you are praying about. I will say more about reading next week. For now, just think about constantly adding something to the crockpot.
What is one subject or text that you waited a long time (weeks, months, or years) to teach or preach? How did the wait contribute to your preparation and teaching/preaching?