From Essay to Art.
Sermon crafting is a verbal art. Unfortunately I learned to preach with books, a strange thing we’ve picked up I suppose from the enlightenment. It also informs - subconsciously - my sermon process. Once I’ve researched, constructed, illustrated, I feel done with the sermon. But this is all in my head and my hands.
So lately I’ve realized - partially from cringey viewing sessions of myself on video - that I need to verbally prepare my sermon as well. I tend to avoid this, because it feels “inauthentic.”
But authenticity takes work, especially for an introvert. Nathaniel Hawthorne once quipped, “Easy reading is damn hard writing.” The same is true - and why shouldn’t it be? - of listening.
So there’s a new process here, for me:
1. Researching - Do the language, commentaries, etc.
2. Constructing - Shape it into something coherent.
3. Embodying - Give the sermon verbally, 2-3 times.
4. Visualizing - Find a visual. Get creative. Make it memorable. Picture it all happening from the listener's perspective.
The first two I always do, the second two are equally important.
It’s what transforms my sermon from a verbal essay into a work of art.