Sermon Planning

In training pastors and students to do Sermon Preparation with Logos Bible Software, I showcased my Sermon Planner Template note file.  Lots of you wrote and asked for a copy of this note file.  Note-sharing is not yet implemented in Logos 4, so in the meantime, below is the note file content which you can use to create your own sermon planner template.

Logos users can now download the Sermon Planner Template using the FaithLife website group called “Gospel Centered Preaching

5 Day Sermon Planner

DAY 1a: OBSERVATION

GOAL = Allow the passage to create questions and doubts.

STUDY = Read the passage in multiple translations across the spectrum from Literal to Paraphrastic. Determine the flow of thought so you can understand how each specific element of the passage is connected to the central meaning.

RESULT = Write down the questions you want answered.

– Who is important to this passage?
– What does not make sense?
– Where is this taking place?
– When is this taking place?
– Why did God want this story told?
– Why should you tell it to others?

DAY 1b: MEANING

GOAL = Allow the language to both clarify and create more questions.

STUDY = Use your skills, and original language resources, to understand the vocabulary, word-order, and structural connections.  Provide a translation of key words or the entire passage as time permits.

– What new questions arise from your study of the language?
– What questions does your study of the language answer?

RESULT – Write a “Passage Outline” which presents an historically accurate account of of the authors unfolding progression of thought.  The Passage Outline will answer the question, “what happened then?

DAY 2: EXPOSITION

GOAL = Determine the context for your passage.

STUDY = Find the relevant stories from the Bible that shed light on your passage.  Read what others have written so you can see beyond your own cultural perspective and expand your own understanding.

RESULT = Take your observations and transform the “Passage Outline” into a “Timeless Outline.”  Your Timeless Outline will turn historical statements into universal statements.  The Timeless Outline makes the historical events relevant to any audience in any time in any culture.  The “Timeless Outline” will answer the question, “what happens now?

DAY 3: APPLICATION

GOAL = Summarize your entire message in a single sentence

STUDY = Read what others have preached and how they have applied this passage.  Be sure to read sermons, both old and new, so that your application is informed by a diversity of cultural the theological perspectives.

RESULT = Know why you are going to preach and what you want people to take home.

a. What is the Historical Truth?

Reread the Passage Outline and in a single noun phrase summarize the dominant theme the biblical author wanted to get across to those hearing/reading their message.

b. What is the Timeless Truth?

Reread the Timeless Outline and in a single noun phrase summarize the dominant theme God has intended for every generation?

c. What is the Central Truth?

i. Reading both your Historical and Timeless Truth statements, answer the question in a single noun phrase, “Why did God want this story told?”
ii. Now that you know God’s purpose in revealing this passage of the Bible, turn your noun phrase back into an interrogative question, “What question was God trying to answer?”
iii. Finally, take the interrogative question and use it to form an incomplete sentence.  The answers you give to this unfinished sentence will provide meaningful content of your sermon.
iv. Now write down your Central Truth.  The Central Truth is your broad theme or issue you will address and answers the question, “what is the meaning?

d. What is your Take Home Truth?

What is the one single message you want your hearers to take home and apply to their life?  The “Take Home Truth” answers the question, “what happens next?

DAY 4: ILLUSTRATION

GOAL = Make your Take Home Truth understandable to others.

STUDY = Use your available resources to find visual illustrations that will enhance your Take Home Topic; pictures, movies, physical objects, etc…

RESULT = A collection of visuals that will not distract from, but enhance the audiences’ understanding of the Take Home Truth.

DAY 5: CONFRONTATION & CONVERSATION

GOAL = Let God’s Spirit convict you about “what happens next” in your own life and then turn your conviction into a conversation with your church fancily.

STUDY = Take all of your previous content and craft a sermon and/or Bible Study.

RESULT = A sermon manuscript relevant to your church for this week.

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I expand greatly on this process in my Homiletics courses & videos, but for those not able to take my class, check out, “Invitation to Biblical Preaching: Proclaiming Truth with Clarity and Relevance” by one of my favorite Doctoral Professors Donald Sunukjian.

Dr. J.R. Miller is a Professor of Applied Theology and Leadership & Dean of Online Learning at Southern California Seminary. Outside work, he is a church planter. Dr. Miller has a diverse educational background and authored multiple books on church history, biblical theology, and Leadership. Joe and his wife Suzanne enjoy the sun and surf with their 3 sons in San Diego, CA.

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