Archives For April 2017

How to spend 20 hours a week preparing your sermon without becoming a hermit

When I was a wide-eyed college student, the teacher taught me that for every minute in the pulpit, you must spend one hour of study. I embraced that concept enthusiastically.

Then I became a pastor.

According the latest study ( over 70% of parishioners come to church because of one thing: (pick one)

  1. Biblical preaching that connects to real life issues.
  2. A fifty something pastor in skinny jeans.
  3. Fog.
  4. Hymnals.

Since those early days, I have learned a couple of things about preaching I would like to share with you. I was even called a Ninja in the pulpit. Dont know what that means, but I’ll take it!

  1. Multitask: I am not a Podcast junkie like Javier, but I do listen to quite a different slate of them. The sermon you are planning to preach has already been preached. (See #2) So how did others handle the text? I exercise for one hour (sometimes 1.5) a day. I wake up earlier, spend less time on the tube and the Book of the Face and spend the time that Im working out listening to preaching about my topic matter.
  2. Plan for year: I dedicate one week every year to plan my sermonic calendar. It allows for changes but the best thing it helps me with is taking the uncertainty out of it. As I pick what sermons, books, podcasts and online content I will CHOOSE to ingest, I make them match with my selected month’s topic.
  3. Write it down immediately. An idea can happen anytime. They can come to you in random places. I have a notes app that I write my ideas in. Same with illustrations. Pen it in or it perishes.
  4. Ruthless. I am guilty of this as much as the next person is. One misconception people have is that in order to make progress you must sit down uninterrupted for long periods of time. That hardly ever happens. I take advantages of sitting in the waiting room and in the toilet room to read or write ideas. I quote Lee Strobel: “You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life”

Most people I know that say they have no time, are stressed out and have a ginormous to-do list I have found that it has less to do with lack of time, and more with lack of planning.

My schedule looks like this:

1.15 hour of reading/studying.  (Daily)

1.15 hour of podcast/online content. (Daily)

4 hours on Friday for writing and Power Point.  (Weekly)

Do this and you too can be called a Ninja.

Evangelism is in my blood. My dad was one and I guess the apple did not fall far from the tree. He used slides projectors with a dissolver and preach in an inflatable tent. I use Power Point and videos and speak in an Ice Rink. At the end of the day, both of us are married to the mission not the method.

We just finished a meeting in a 100 member Lifespring Church Plant in Wesley Chapel FL which is a community that is middle class and its growing. The pastor and outreach director lead a pretty diverse congregation.  (age, culture, Christian background)

The meeting can best be described this way:

Eight nights, connecting eight of the most common human problems with eight of our most treasured beliefs. We used a well-known musical guest each night and held in an Ice Rink. You can watch the meetings here:


What I liked:

  1. Music was a draw. Several families came for the music, saw the program, stayed for the week. Several of them are connected to the church family now and will start studies.
  2. The venue. I like churches, but a neutral location works well. Since several other events were going on at the same time, we got employees attending our meeting.
  3. Community outreach. This is something brand new we tried and I loved the way the church did it. The offering each night went to a local organization that is part of the 5H that exist in every city. (Homelessness, Human Trafficking, Hunger, Health and Help). This did 2 things:
  4. People always thing we are after their money. This pointed outward not inward.
  5. Helped people who led these organizations to attend!
  6. Millennials response. 80% of people who were baptized were Millennials and Z. The crowd was diverse as the church, but the myth that young people are not interested in God or evangelism was just that, a myth. See one baptism here:
  7. Church response. Close to 100% participation from church members. That is a result of a year of planning and the fact that church planting increases participation. The systems this church has should be examined by every congregation that is serious about church growth. (write the pastor!)


What needed to improve:

  1. Advertising. Different from other meetings, this one had very few attending because of social media. We got a response of about 1 per 500 on mailers. Here are the stats.


Friend 175
Flyer 55
Email 2
Selah Website 1
Facebook 5
Computer 1
Local Church 32
TV 7
Work 1
Ad 1
Letter 3
Road Sign 2
Radio 6
I seen it 1
Random 1


Can’t wait to do it again in Pensacola, Berean, Charlotte and Chattanooga!  Any questions or comments please share in comment section or write me.