Sermon-Writing Tutorial

Sermon-Writing Tutorial

Addison Nunley '23, Staff Writer

I got the amazing opportunity to interview Mother Teresa, regarding how to write a sermon and how to handle performing in front of so many people. If you have ever wondered how she or any other member of our community has done it, read on!

When you are creating a sermon, where do you start? What’s your thought process?

“I start in prayer, calling on the Holy Spirit to guide me – that it is God’s word that is being delivered and illuminated. Then I read the scripture, and I start studying the commentaries – what do biblical scholars and theologians say about the passage. I do an exegesis (draw out the meaning) of the Bible passage based on my study and research. Hopefully at this point I have any idea what my main point is going to be – what I want everyone to understand about the passage and how it applies to our lives.  If I know that, then I can start crafting the sermon.”

How do you find a way to relate to all of the sermons you share?

“I consider who the listeners will be, what the context is (church or school), what time of year/ church season, what else is happening in the community and the world… All that plays into relating the sermon to the listeners and myself. Usually when I am doing the study of the commentaries, I start to understand how it relates to our current time and place.”

Do your sermons always start with a biblical passage or a personal experience?

“I always preach on the Bible in a specific passage. The scripture is read by someone else before I begin preaching. When I start my sermon, I do it in different ways. Often I use a story or illustration; sometimes it is a thought provoking question. I always try to find a way to get people’s attention so they will want to listen to the message.”

How do you not get scared when you are talking to all of these people?

“I pray every time I preach that God will use me to preach God’s word – that what I say is not ME but is GOD’s words that come out through me. I prepare a lot including rehearsing my sermon delivery. That gives me confidence in what I am saying and how I say it. Still there are situations when I am more nervous than others. I pray.”

What is a quality that you would consider makes a good sermon?

“Two things go into a good sermon: What you say (content) and How you say it (delivery). You absolutely have to do both well.  

Content – is the meaning and message clear and based on the Bible – use humor, story and illustrations to engage the listeners – how does it apply to our everyday lives – what call to action is there

Delivery – focus on the pace and articulation – use pauses – change the volume and pitch of my voice as appropriate – body movement and expression – basically using good public speaking skills”

Lastly, what do you hope students and facilities take away from your sermons?

“I want the listener to learn more about the awesome God we serve. I want them to see how God’s Word applies to our lives in real ways.I want them to feel moved to act in some way (i.e. work on their relationship with God; pray or study more; care for strangers as well as our friends and family; make our world a better place in some way – this varies based on the passage and sermon).”

Image courtesy of Advancement Office.