Sermon Preparation

Written Resources - Sermon Preparation

Present The Law And The Gospel

Quotations - Sermon Preparation

Do Your Best Work

"Heaven is ashamed of preachers who do less than their best in the sacred desk.--Heaven is ashamed of many who are engaged in all branches of the work, and especially is Heaven ashamed of those who are called to the sacred desk, and yet who do not try to do their best. Many read newspapers and periodicals and books, and neglect the study of their Bibles. They do not wrestle with God in the closet, for the help which He alone can give. They go forth to their work spiritless and without Christ. Ministers go before their congregations, presenting fragments of a long-used discourse, instead of a fresh portion of meat in due season for the people. They drift into dry, controverted subjects, and the flock of God is unfed." Ellen White, Review and Herald, May 20, 1890.

Speak Simply

"In our efforts to make known the truth for this time, we have no need to stretch ourselves beyond ourselves. We do not need powers of oratory in order to be successful workers. Our teachings should be so simple that even the children can understand them. Let us tell in simple language the reasons for our observance of the seventh day. Let us point men and women to the Word of God and the instruction that He gave His ancient people regarding His requirements." {Lt198-1908.5}

A Child Could Understand Christ's Sermons

Christ came to our world to live out the law of God, to be our pattern in all things. He placed himself between the mercy-seat and the vast number of heartless worshipers who were full of ostentation, pride, and vanity, and by his lessons of truth, which were eloquent with simplicity, he impressed the people with the necessity of spiritual worship. His lessons were impressive, beautiful, and weighty with importance, and yet so simple that a child could understand them. The truth he presented was so deep that the wisest and most accomplished teacher could never exhaust it. Those who work as seeing the invisible, will always preserve simplicity, charging the simplest words with the power of the grandest truths. It was with this kind of teaching that the Lord Jesus exposed the weakness and brought to confusion the theories of the most learned. The spotlessness of his character, untainted with sin, unmarred by a wrinkle, revealed the marked contrast there was between his religion and the pious pretensions of the Pharisees. They could not tolerate Jesus. {RH December 25, 1894, par. 4} Ellen G. White, Review and Herald, December 25, 1894

Delivery Of Sermon

Speak Slowly

"I ought to have answered your letter before this, but travelling from place to place and attending meetings has taken all my strength. The camp-meeting at Omaha was a very large one, and one Sabbath afternoon I spoke to over fifteen hundred people, among them many Germans and Scandinavians. I found that in order to make my words heard in all parts of the tent, I must breathe deeply and speak slowly. Were I to speak quickly, my throat and lungs would suffer. And when I speak slowly, the hearers are given an opportunity to take in sentence after sentence and to gather up ideas that would otherwise be lost." {Lt287-1904.1} Ellen G. White in letter to Kellogg

Speak Distinctly

"I asked a Methodist minister, “Tell me where you obtained the voice that you have that reaches and makes a reality of everything you try to explain in the Scriptures?” I never shall forget it, never. I was then quite young. “Well,” said he, “I will tell you if you will come outside.” He was in my father’s house. He showed me the trees; he showed me the things all around. I knew what was there before he said, but I went out of the house. “They said you never can preach a discourse, you have not a good tone of voice, and you will just as surely miss it if you attempt to be a preacher,” said he. “I preached to the stumps, to the trees, and there nobody was to find fault with me, and there I educated myself from point to point, until I made an acceptable minister.” I never forgot that. I did not have to do that preach, but I never forgot it. {Ms184-1907.12}  I thought if he could wrestle with difficulties like that, then those that think that they have not a right speech: learn it, learn it. It is just as large an education as you can obtain to learn to speak correctly. Every word in a sentence or every sentence is to be pronounced correctly. And if you do that, let me tell you, you will be in a place where you can communicate intelligently. I was listening to a minister, one that we highly esteemed, but he never seemed, or seldom seemed, to ripen off the work. Said I, What is the matter? {Ms184-1907.13}  The answer came to me: He lets the last sentence run down, right into a hole. You cannot tell what he says. Now, the very last sentence and word is to stand right out clear and distinct, and so is every sentence. Now I want to tell you this, because you may gain a great deal by educating yourself, and we want to do this, and we want you to do it. We want every scholar to educate himself, that if they are called to minister or to read a chapter in the Word, they will put the right emphasis on every word and they will bring it out in such a way that it will touch hearts. Now, you are improving your talent in doing that. You are improving your talent of speech. I have heard so many essays read when I could hear words, but I could not distinguish them. They would run it together so I could not distinguish clearly. It lost its force—one-half of it lost its force. Now, that was not as it should be. {Ms184-1907.14}  A physician as he comes to his patient, and as he talks with that patient, wants to put his words so that every word is distinct and impressive. Why? Because it is God’s Word, the truth of the Bible, and he is handling the truth, the Word. He wants to make the impressive, and he can do it by educating his voice. You can take a song and educate you voice so as to put emphasis and power in the voice. {Ms184-1907.15} Ellen G. White, Manuscript 184, 1907

Speak In A Sympathetic Tone Of Voice

Another thing that you can educate is—here are younger ones all around you—you want to speak to them just as tenderly and kindly and sympathetically so that, if you should speak in the pulpit, you will have a sympathetic tone, that you can speak tenderly, and that your heart will be so that you can reach out for souls. {Ms184-1907.16} Ellen G. White, Manuscript 184, 1907

Follow Up The Sermon


"Many love to preach, but they have very little experience in ministering. Search the Scriptures with the families you visit. Christ’s work was to put believers in possession of every essential truth, that by searching, they might discover other precious gems. We need to search in the lessons of Christ for the true meaning of His words; for it remains to be discovered. As we do this, the new aspect of some truths will be seen; we shall see the far-reaching compass of others, and the connection of some with others. Thus we shall find a harmonious whole. We must put our minds to the task of searching, with humble, holy, determined purpose, and with much prayer. The diligent seeker will receive his reward. {Ms7-1891.14}  It is not preaching alone that must be done. Far less preaching is needed. More time should be devoted to patiently educating others, giving the hearers opportunity to express themselves. It is instruction that many need, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, and there a little. {Ms7-1891.15}  But it is very difficult to impress the minds of our ministering brethren with the idea that sermons alone cannot do the work that is needed for our churches. Personal efforts are wanted; they are essential for the prosperity of individuals and churches. In speaking, we must act intelligently, remembering that the minds of our hearers cannot retain or appropriate one-half of the discourses that are given. Few minds can take in so much matter. Yet without giving the minds of the people time to digest that which they have heard, too often plans are laid for another discourse to follow closely upon the one already given. What time have the people to digest the preceding discourse? If they grasp the ideas of the latter discourse, but a small portion of the former is retained. {Ms7-1891.16}  I have been shown that we lose a large share of the discourses given, because so many are crowded in one after the other. The object for which our camp meetings are appointed is that they may be a spiritual benefit to the people. When a discourse is given, precious seed is sown. But if personal efforts are not made to prepare the soil for that seed, it does not take root in the heart. Unless the heart is softened and subdued by the Spirit of God, much of the discourse is lost." {Ms7-1891.17} Ellen G. White, Manuscript 7, 1891

Class Meetings Should Follow

"Every discourse of any real value needs to be followed by a class meeting (shall I call it?) or a Bible reading. Here the points which have been presented should be applied; questions should be asked, and right ideas inculcated." {Ms7-1891.19} Ellen G. White, Manuscript 7, 1891