Sermon Outline 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?