#159 | Overcoming Sermon Writer’s Block [PODCAST]

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  • #159 | Overcoming Sermon Writer’s Block [PODCAST]
  • Welcome to The On Preaching Podcast, the podcast dedicated to helping you preach faithfully, clearly, and better.

    In this episode, H.B. discusses how to overcome sermon writer’s block. Writer’s block typically affects authors, composers, or artists, but it can also happen to preachers, with the accompanying spiritual implications.  

    You can struggle to understand the text, craft the message, or prepare yourself to preach. How do you overcome sermon writer’s block? 

    Guard Your Heart. The heart is the primary instrument of Christian ministry. Whenever there is something that is not right in our lives or ministries, the heart of the matter is the matter of the heart. So, start there. Examine yourself. Make sure you are spiritually ready to do the Lord’s work. Above all else, guard your heart (Proverbs 4:23).

    Plan Your Preaching. A lot of sermon writing struggles happen because of last-minute preparation. The solution is to have a plan for planning your preaching. Know in advance what you are going to preach next Sunday. Schedule when you are going to work on that message. Then, unless providentially hindered, guard that study time and use it wisely.

    Take a Break. Sometimes we struggle to get our sermon work done because we are tired and need to take a break. You may need to take a break to take a nap. Or you may need to take a vacation to recharge your batteries. Know your physical rhythms and limits. Recognize when you need to come apart and rest awhile (Mark 6:31). Listen to your body it needs rest.

    Fight the Resistance. Sermon preparation is thought work. In any such creative endeavor, you will inevitably face resistance – negative self-talk that hinders you from getting started, making progress, of finishing strong. When the resistance rears its ugly head, fight it! Like Nehemiah, recognize you are doing a good work and refuse to come down from the wall.

    Practice Purposeful Distraction. There are times when we need physical breaks. There are also times when we need mental breaks. You can only work muscles for so long without rest. When that happens, practice purposeful distraction. Don’t waste time on sinful, worldly, or unproductive things. But find meaningful recreation for rest, renewal, and refreshment.

    Keep on Working. Sunday is coming. The congregation will gather expecting a word from the Lord. You have limited time between now and then. What do you do? Keep working. Shake off hindering thoughts and feelings. Pray earnestly to the Lord for help. Eliminate unnecessary distractions. Then get in the seat and stay there until the hard work is done.

    Remember your Why. When you lose your why, you lose your way. So go back to the reason why you are working on or writing that sermon in the first place. Preach the gospel to yourself. Remember your calling. Pray about the needs of your congregation. Think about the fact that you will give account to the Lord for your preaching (2 Timothy 4:1-2). Then give God your best.

    What do you do when you struggle with sermon writer’s block?


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    H.B. Charles Jr.

    Pastor-Teacher at the Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church of Jacksonville and Orange Park, Florida.