I’ve blogged before about how I create my entry-level sermons each week for our high school ministry – how I start with literally a blank Word document on Tuesday morning and follow My 6 Steps to Writing a Youth Talk. Then, after the 2,000+ word manuscript is complete and I take the stage, occasionally making notes and adjustments to the talk for the remaining 3 times to deliver it on the weekend. Many of these notes are inspired by ad libs, tweaks from my team or inspiration/ideas in the lull between the 1st and 2nd service.
A few other things you might be interested to note:
- I call out all media/slides/object lessons in yellow highlight. Timing is critical on these elements, so I try to make it clear for the students and volunteers involved.
- Sometimes, I make a significant edit to the document, cutting out a whole section, deleting a line, replacing a joke or drawing arrows to fix the pacing.
- I’ve never once delivered a message without some notes/adjustments on it – seems I’ll tweak to the last minute and then some.
- I prefer the manuscript form for teaching to this crowd/audience, but use other styles as well.
- I practice the sermon 2-3 times alone in a room before I give it. Let’s me hear it out loud and make sure it flows well.
- This is for our entry-level program, a discipleship talk would look very different.
- This particular week I didn’t have fill-ins, just the verses and some space for them to write down the different attributes of the foundation of sand or rock. I also had them write a couple key thoughts/questions off to the side in their program as well.
So here’s an example of what it looks like after a weekend … this talk was our new year kickoff message about Doubting Thomas (you can read the full weekend in review here).
One last thought … posting my message notes is a very vulnerable moment for me … play nice please. Thoughts and questions? Would love to hear how you craft a talk, too!