Let me share with you the typical steps I walk through in preparing my messages:
1. I select the text from which I’m going to speak.
2. I study the text in the original language - Greek or Hebrew.
3. I then determine the main idea of the text by asking, “What is this text talking about?” and “What is the text saying about what it is talking about?” Dr. Haddon Robinson taught this approach, and I am deeply committed to it.
4. Having decided on the main idea, I then consider how I can state it in a way that will be memorable to the people.
5. I then ask, “Is this something I need to explain, prove, or simply apply?” Although all three might have a place, one will usually be predominate.
6. I outline my message following the flow of thought that is found in the text. My outline includes my transitions as to how I am going to go from one point to the next and also where humor is needed.
7. Next, I decide which illustrations to use from my files, which ones need to be humorous, and exactly what they need to communicate.
8. Then I manuscript by message, word-for-word, the way I plan to say it.
9. Just prior to speaking, I read my message in entirety 10 to 20 times before actually speaking to my congregation. I certainly do not have my
message memorized, but by reading it that many times, I am able to give it without the use of notes. That gives me the ability to look at the people, not at paper.
10. Having given my message a lot of prayer, I deliver it. I consider prayer a vital part of my message preparation. I pray throughout my preparation process so that God will help me put together a message that will be both meaningful and relevant.