Wednesday, September 05, 2007

A Preaching Log

As I said in my previous post, I have been preaching for nearly 25 years. I do keep my sermon manuscripts and notes, but being a lectionary preacher it is sometimes time- consuming to go back and look at a previous sermon. There are at least two ways to organize past sermons to make them more accessible. The first is to order them by Bible books, Genesis to Revelation. I've started this process and it in itself is time-consuming. The second way is a preaching log.

A small notebook will suffice for a preaching log. In it record the Bible passages that you have preached on with the date of the sermon. This make retrieval much easier.

I have heard one preacher, Martin Smith (once a Cowley Father) recommend burning your old sermons and starting afresh, but why would you want to do that? Isn't it possible that looking at an old sermon might spur new thoughts and directions for a future sermon? This has been the case for me. Besides, it's good to have a record of what you've said in a given place. For example, I've been in my present parish for nine years, I've preached on nearly every lectionary passage except for most of the Psalms, and it's good to have a ready resource (if I can find it!).

Try a preaching log. It could be a helpful part of going deeper when you're preaching a passage for a second, third or whatever number of times.

A Preaching Journal

I've been preaching now for nearly 25 years and over that time I've kept my sermon manuscripts and sermon notes. Recently I began a new practice - a preaching journal. A preaching journal for me is a spiral bound notebook where I record my sermon preparation. This includes verse by verse exegetical notes, thoughts that might be useful in the sermon and a list of books or other materials that could be helpful for preparation or quoted in the sermon. A preaching journal will simplify future work on a passage since you've got a running start from your previous effort.