Are you still working on your Sermon Saturday Night?

Many pastors are frustrated that they are working on their sermons well into the weekend. If this is you consider applying the following principles to help you recapture your Saturdays.

Sermon Prep on Saturdays

1. Set aside an hour on Friday to plan your schedule for the following week.

One wise practice for keeping a sane schedule is to plan your schedule in advance. By planning on Friday for the coming week, you are less likely to have your schedule hijacked and more likely to accomplish your highest priorities. For most pastors, I recommend three, four-hour morning time blocks for sermon preparation. This might look something like setting aside Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday mornings from 8-12. I have previously written a post that outlines the principle of thinking in the morning and talking in the afternoons.

2. Calendar specific times for meetings that work for you.

Even after carefully following the advice above, you still have people that you need to meet. In order to keep from doing meetings around everyone’s schedule but yours, decide what meeting times best work for you and calendar them weekly. Meeting when everyone else is available without considering what works best in your schedule is a formula for sermon-prep Saturdays.   Each Friday as you plan your coming week you can look at who you need to meet with and suggest times that will work for you. You don’t have to be an inflexible legalist in implementing this, but it will at least allow you to have some say so over your schedule. For more on this read How to take control of your crazy schedule.

3. Never agree on a Sunday morning to a meeting for the coming week.

Often a person will approach a pastor on a Sunday morning and say something like, “We should get together for coffee!” You happily say, “Sure, what works for you?” They say, “Tuesday morning at 10 works for me.”  And at the moment you happily agree.  On Monday morning, you realize what a bad idea this actually was. By agreeing to this meeting, you have just given away the Sermon Prep that you were going to do in your Tuesday morning time block. When you are asked, on a Sunday morning, to commit to a meeting remember:

  • You are not in your right mind on Sunday morning.
  • The person that approached you may not even want to meet with you but doesn’t know what else to say when they see you.

Consider instead:

A person approaches you on Sunday morning and says “We should get together for coffee!” Respond by saying, “That sounds like a good idea. Can you send me an email sometime this week?” What I have found is that about half of the people who say they want to get together don’t really want to get together but don’t know what else to say when they see you. Others will never actually send you the email. If a person does send you an email you can respond when you are sane, assess the priority of the meeting, and them plug it into one of your meeting times for next week. By following this process, you will avoid meetings that are unimportant, make sure that you keep control of your schedule, save yourself several hours per week, and avoid sermon prep Saturdays.

What would you add to this?  Feel free to comment!

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Comments

  1. says

    Brian, all great suggestions. I have been practicing those principles for a few years now and they really do work. No matter what, I always feel like I could do more sermon prep on Saturdays, but because I have put the work in through the week I just trust God to take what I have done and use it. I also just wanted you to know that your blogs have been very helpful to me. Keep them coming!

  2. says

    This sounds great for pastors who are employed full-time by the church, but in a situation where only one of a team of pastors is employed by the church the dynamics have to change. I work a full time secular job but had to preach yesterday; I don’t really have the choice of setting aside 12 hours during the week without neglecting job, family, or other church duties so it’s a case of preparing over several weeks alongside the rest of life, then putting in the extra time on Saturday evening so it’s at least fresh in my mind…what would your advice be to people like me?

    • says

      Sam,

      This post was definitely geared toward full time pastors. For you things will look a little different. The key principles are, however
      Plan your schedule rather then allowing everyone else to plan it
      Be aware of important vs. urgent
      In your situation, it seems that preparing over time rather than in one week makes sense and refreshing your mind in the day or two leading up to your sermon makes sense. Just remember to not cheat your family!

  3. Denny Howard says

    Great thoughts even if you are retired like me. We all have a schedule that works for us and if we don’t keep that in mind we will end up letting other people control our lives.

  4. says

    The church can’t pay me a salary. The Lord has provided work. Saturdays are the only day I have to commit to sermon writing. His grace is sufficient. By God’s grace, I can prepare to preach on Saturday just as well as I could any other day. Especially in rural America, this is often just the norm.

  5. says

    I have found this to be GOLD!!!

    A person approaches you on Sunday morning and says “We should get together for coffee!” Respond by saying, “That sounds like a good idea. Can you send me an email sometime this week?” What I have found is that about half of the people who say they want to get together don’t really want to get together but don’t know what else to say when they see you. Others will never actually send you the email. If a person does send you an email you can respond when you are sane, assess the priority of the meeting, and then plug it into one of your meeting times for next week. By following this process, you will avoid meetings that are unimportant, make sure that you keep control of your schedule, save yourself several hours per week, and avoid sermon prep Saturdays.

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