For years, I have prepared and delivered at least three different sermons or teachings a week. As the church has grown our staff has not. I am currently working on the process of adding to our team, but that is for another blog. Sometime last year I hit a wall. I was spending a great deal of time in preparation for Sunday morning, and each week my prep for Wednesdays and Sunday evenings was cramped.
I began using Sunday night as an opportunity to expound on the sermon, and even dialogue with the congregation about the text. I’m not sure where I heard this idea, but I know it isn’t original with me. I have called this “Digging Deeper” and it has been a big benefit for our church and me. Each week my sermon prep for Sunday morning is also for Sunday night. As the week ends and the sermon are finished, I go back through my notes and identify areas where I can go deeper on Sunday night.
Many weeks I let the congregation ask questions related to the text or the sermon. This can be a little nerve-racking, but it is incredible to hear the insight and receive feedback from others. I have been encouraged at the way our members are engaging the sermon and the text beyond the preaching moment.
Each Sunday night I walk into the sanctuary with at least two ideas from the sermon to discuss. Many nights I go home without introducing the items because the congregation has brought their own. Often I realize later that we covered the content I brought even though I didn’t bring it up!
There are many ways to maximize your preparation for preaching & teaching; this is just one way that I make the best use of my time in leading and pastoring each week.