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  • Writer's pictureNick McDonald

Rinse, Wash, Repeat.

Weeks before Coronavirus, I felt in a preaching slump. It was a season where words felt like molasses and ideas seemed cloudy, I could barely hold my own attention. But it was a season God used to jolt me out of complacency into perspective as I dipped back into preachers I loved, analyzed my own process, asked others for help.

It became clear to me that my process had become formulaic, and thus, dead. Preaching needs to be living, creative, moldable, just as the preacher must be.

It’s why I’m going back to constructing my sermons along the text. In a way it’s simpler, in other ways it forces my creativity. There is a formula to it, but it’s a micro-formula, rather than a preset structure:

1. Read - I prefer to read the verse as I go, rather than have a public reading. This helps people engage it as a story/argument.

2. Summarize - Restating what the Bible says is a form of meditation, and it’s an important way to connect the text to the sermon.

3. Contextualize - Situate the passage theologically, look at the arch of the Old Testament and the New.

4. Visualize - After restating, illustrate. Make it feel to us like it felt to them.

5. Synthesize - Put it into a single, memorable phrase.

6. Concretize - To our situation, the way we think, act. To the Christians, the non-Christians. This doesn’t have to “solve” the problem, it just needs to make a connection to our world.

Rinse, Wash, Repeat.

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