The Art of the Sermon Part Two: Marinade

Always looking for a gimmick for the blog, and constantly being asked about it, I've decided to work on a two-week series called "The Art of the Sermon." I'm going to

walk through step by step everything I do for a sermon, from two weeks out until Sunday morning at the Bridge. I will then post a youtube video of the sermon, just in case you can't make the Bridge. If we do it right, this will be fun and educational! Come along!

This is the hardest part of writing a sermon, because there's not a whole lot of "doing" involved. This is difficult for me! Right about now I'm freaking out because the sermon is still a blank sheet of paper. I fear that Sunday will arrive and I will still have nothing. It's kind of like that dream you used to have where you went to school in your underwear or something.

But right now, what has to happen is the process of marinading the sermon. Those of you who consider yourselves carnivores with me probably get this. Of course, you could take the steak or chicken directly out of the fridge, throw it on the grill, and a few moments later have a meal. But would that meal satisfy you? I doubt it heavily.

No, if you want a really good meal, you take your meat of choice, mix together some spices and sauces (or if you're a wimp you buy pre-made marinade. Did I mention you were a wimp?) and you place the mixture on top of your meat. You then take the meat and place it in the fridge for a length of time. This length of time differs from recipe to recipe, but some can last over night. You have to think ahead to have this meal!

But you will be rewarded good and faithful servant! When you grill that finely marinated meat to perfection, and you take your first bite, your taste buds will all but explode! You will begin weeping at the beauty of the fine meal before you. You will thank the Lord for providing choicest meats and delicious ingredients for marinade. And then after all that you'll take your second bite.

I think this analogy applies to sermon writing in a big way. It's completely possible to write a sermon that was never marinaded, and the people will be fed. You could write a sermon the night before the preaching of said sermon, but it may or may not be flavorful! It might be completely lame!

But what if, after you have read your scriptures and you have picked your topic, you just let it marinade? Say for instance you were to pick the Holy Spirit as your topic, what if you paid attention to everyday ordinary life to see where the Holy Spirit might rear it's head? What if you watched the news looking for the Holy Spirit, trying to see how people might be talking about it outside the church (believe it or not, they are!)?

So when you preach, take some time to let the sermon marinade. I understand this takes a certain level of planning ahead, which youth leaders are not often known for. But try it out! Let there be choice meats in our church services this week!!!