For the past several years, I have been volunteering to teach high school English at the homeschool Co-op my children attend. Since my students are all from church-going families, I teach them to critique and write persuasive essays by focusing on a literary form they experience every week: the sermon. First, I have them read a number of classic and modern sermons. Then I have them take notes on their own pastor’s sermon and turn in a brief written summary. Next I have them develop a sermon outline, and finally, they write their own sermon manuscript. Oh, and one more thing, I ask them to email their pastors a brief questionnaire about their own sermon preparation.
I didn’t really plan this series of lessons to coincide with Clergy Appreciation Month, but I’m glad that it worked out that way. After all, one of my goals in all this is to help my students appreciate the effort that goes into crafting a good sermon. As I said to them the other day, “You feel like I’m asking a lot to have you write a five-paragraph essay every week. Think about your pastor having to research and write a whole sermon every week … EVERY WEEK!”
If you’d like to help my students better understand the process of preparing a sermon, below is the questionnaire I had them send to their own pastors. I welcome your answers to these questions in the comments on this post.
Oh, and don’t forget our offer this month of discounted gift cards for clergy. It’s a great way to show your appreciation to your own pastor, to an old seminary prof, to a fellow ministry partner, etc. If you’re a pastor who would like to be on the receiving end of one of these gift cards, you might have your spouse or a good friend spread the word to your congregation that they can make their love offering go farther with Accordance!
Sermon Preparation Questionnaire
1. Please describe the process you use to create a sermon. (How you choose your subject matter, how you research it, how you lay it out into a sermon, etc.)
2. Do you write out a complete manuscript or do you simply preach from an outline? What kind of notes do you use when you preach?
3. What are the biggest challenges you face in preparing and delivering your sermons?
4. How do you evaluate your sermons? What makes for a good sermon?
Every year, I get the same email.
It’s time to send us your Christmas wish list. We never know what to get you, and if you don’t tell us what you want, all you are getting is socks.
This is always an empty threat, as my family has never only given me socks. Still, as I grow older, I find it harder and harder to think of gift ideas that I genuinely want or will use on a regular basis. But I remember one Christmas, three years ago, right after I bought Accordance, and all I wanted for Christmas was Accordance modules. I had so many on my wish list! I wanted the Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary, the New American Commentary set, the NIGTC Commentary set, and a lot more.
If you are guessing that my wish list was a tad ambitious as a poor seminary student, you would be correct. But what can I say, I was a fresh-faced new Accordance user and it was easy to get excited about building an awesome Bible study library that I could take anywhere on my laptop. As the holidays drew near, I remember thinking, “If only Accordance offered gift cards, putting together a Christmas wish list would be so easy!” As it turns out, Accordance did offer gift cards but they weren’t well publicized and the redemption system was less than ideal.
This year, we changed all of that. We completely overhauled our ordering system to make gift cards easy to buy, easy to redeem, and entirely automated. The new gift card system probably works similar to what you may have experienced on larger sites like Amazon or Barnes & Noble. You can set the gift card value, add a personal note, and even set a future send date. Recipients will get a beautifully designed email gift card that can be redeemed directly on our website.
So if you have family members who are still looking for gift ideas, consider asking for an Accordance gift card this year. They never expire, so you can use it at any time. Or, if you have someone on your gift list who loves to study the Bible, why not give them an Accordance gift card? With new Accordance 10 Collections starting at just $49.99, you won't need to break the bank to get friends and family members started with a great set of Bible study tools. Just click the link below to buy a gift card now!