Posted On March 8, 2022

Rightly Dividing the Word in the Service of the Flock: Sermon Planning and Preparation

by | Mar 8, 2022 | Featured, The Gospel and the Ministry

Preaching in a pastoral context—the parish, the community—requires a vocational dedication that stewards time and deploys a thoughtful strategy and tactical operation to realize the mission. On the topic of such vocational intentionality, the Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 2:15 (AV), “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

The Scriptural mandate to “study” is a divinely-denoted means of fulfilling the pastoral call to equip the saints for works of ministry, grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, and evangelize the world. Such a large-scale mission requires a comprehensive pastoral program pursued at strategic and practical levels. In the context of pastoral preaching (the exposition of the word of God in a parish or Christian community) in contrast to, e.g., itinerant evangelistic preaching, this essential work may be divided into long-range planning, a strategic level mission, and short term preparation, a tactical action.

The Differences between Sermon Planning and Preparation

To speak of sermon planning and sermon preparation is not to create new pastoral tasks but to acknowledge the inherent and necessary duties of the pastoral office to fulfill Christ’s charge to “Shepherd my flock (John 21:16).” The following paragraph seeks to differentiate between sermon planning and sermon preparation.

Sermon Planning

Sermon Planning is a critical pastoral exercise, undertaken annually, to design a one-to-three-year long-range (one to three years: e.g., Year A, B, and C)) strategic Preaching Plan, expressed in three “tracks”—(1) lectio continua, (2) liturgical-civic, and (3) crisis—so that the Christian shepherd can more effectively fulfill the Biblical mandate to “be ready in season and out of season” (2 Timothy 4:2), “shepherd Christ’s flock (Acts 20:28), “Study to shew thyself approved unto God . . .rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

Sermon Preparation

Sermon Preparation is the tactical response to sermon planning. Sermon preparation involves executing the three-track preaching plan by immediately focusing on the exegesis and exposition of the respective Biblical text for the given week.

The following presentation is intended to illustrate the differences and define the task involved with sermon planning and preparation.

PDF File: Download Sermon Planning and Sermon Preparation PDF


My dearest students in Christ, as Chairman of our Ministry Department at Erksine Theological Seminary, my goal is that you leave seminary with both education (vocational information) and training (vocation formation) in pastoral ministry. This summary of sermon planning and preparation is an expression of that goal. We pray that you may be so equipped in the gospel ministry that as you proclaim the unsearchable riches of Jesus Christ, there will be a multitude of souls safe in the arms of Jesus when he comes again (1 Thessalonians 2:19-20).

Related Posts

Weekly Roundup 5/16/2022-5/21/2022

Weekly Roundup 5/16/2022-5/21/2022

This is our weekly roundup of posts for 5/16/2022-5/21/2022. If you have any feedback on how we can serve you our readers better, I would appreciate it. Thank you for reading and allowing us to minister to you throughout this past week through these posts. Monday...

Cut Off

Cut Off

Genesis 17:14, “Any uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.” Though there is a certain priority given to Abraham’s natural seed (see Gen. 17:21), from the beginning it is clear...

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made by God

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made by God

On today’s episode, a listener writes in and asks Dave, “Did God Really Know Me Before I Was Born? What You'll Hear on this Episode What the Bible Teaches About Life. Helping the Church Be About Life. We Are “Fearfully and Wonderfully Made” But Need Redemption from...

Why We Need the Puritans

Why We Need the Puritans

Who the Puritans Really Were Horse racing is said to be the sport of kings. The sport of slinging mud has, however, a wider following. Pillorying the Puritans, in particular, has long been a popular pastime both sides of the Atlantic, and most people’s image of...

Native and Foreigner

Native and Foreigner

Genesis 17:11-13, “You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you. 12 He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised. Every male throughout your generations, whether born in your house or...


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.