Seminal Work: Casting the Seed
By Rev. Leslie Stewart
Church planters: Your biggest opportunity for Evangelism, Vision Casting, and Pastoral Care is your sermon.
I know you know how to write a sermon.
The challenge with church planting is that you have to do it every week while also creating a whole new world – an entirely new system and all of its processes. In the initial stages, everything that happens for the church plant comes through you.
Time is your most precious commodity, and you won’t have enough of it. Here are some tips that have helped me make this weekly challenge manageable.
Make a template
This may seem basic, but if you haven’t created sermon templates, do so now. Here’s a helpful how-to video from Word 2016:
We all have sermon forms that are comfortable to us. Go ahead and set up the formatting you like and give yourself a few bullet prompts for that format. For example, a quick and easy format I like is the Four Pages of the Sermon. It’s solid and allows me to generate a sermon quickly.
Usually on Monday morning I read the lectionary and generate a sentence for each page of the sermon that I’ll go back and flesh out later. The template I’ve built for that kind of sermon has the four page prompts.
Trouble or Conflict in world that underscores biblical text
Identify where God is at work in the text – the Good News
God at work in our world (especially as relates to page 1)
Engage them early
I’ve made one important modification based on that I learned from Kevin Martin, of “Kevin on Congregations" -- I’ve flipped the first two pages of the Four Pages of the Sermon template.
Kevin teaches that stories are the best way to start a sermon. He contends that starting with the biblical text doesn’t engage listeners and makes you less relatable and too academic. By starting with a story, you can help your audience better relate to the text.
I’m sure you have your own comfortable sermon styles, and I encourage you to go ahead and prebuild those templates now. Once you start church planting, you’re going to be so busy that, my hand to God, it will feel like Sunday comes twice a week!
I hope this helps a little. God bless you and your important work!