Byer's Basic Blog

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Good thoughts on sermon preparation…

Posted by joelbyer on April 29, 2010

By meredithbrock on Ministry Perspective

Sometimes when I’m trying to prepare a sermon, or I sit down to write, these terrible clouds start forming over my head.

The clouds gather in the form of a progression of thoughts.
The thoughts go like this:

“I’ve got to preach in just a few days.
And I’m completely sure I have absolutely nothing to say that anybody needs to hear.”

These thoughts have the same effect as a series of dropkicks to the chest.  They totally knock the wind out of you.  Even thinking about what these thoughts feel like in order to explain it to you makes me a little short of breath.  If you let these thoughts play out long enough, they’ll suck you in to a pretty hopeless place.  You can start to lose your mind in a hurry.

Where does this kind of despair come from?  I’ve got lots of theories on that.  One of the main hang-ups, at least for me personally, is this:
I am overwhelmed with the realization that everything I could possibly say has already been said before.
And what’s worse: somebody else has already said it better than me.
That’s downright debilitating.

Unless you hit back with this:
So what if it’s been said before?  That’s just more proof that it’s worth saying again.

Think of it this way: technically, there are only 12 notes in the musical scale.  That’s it.  Every song you’ll ever hear is some combination of those 12 notes.  When songwriters sit down to compose, they’re not out to create new notes.
Their goal is to put the 12 notes that have already been played millions and millions of times together in a way that will move people in a new way.

In fact, some people would even say that the best songs are the simplest ones.  The ones that use the most familiar chord progressions.

So the next time you sit down to create, and you start to suffocate because you have nothing new to say, put it in perspective.

Your job is not to create new notes, or conceive of new concepts.
Just put the stuff that’s already out there together in a way that moves you.
Chances are, it’s going to move someone else, too.

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