my writing process

Several people have asked how I put together my talks… so here is my process as it currently sits (it is always being tweaked… if you have a suggestion I would LOVE to hear them):

Central to my process is my Monday afternoon creative team.  We talk through series ideas, message ideas, and big themes, trying (but not always succeeding!) to stay at least one series ahead.  I also read, reflect, and research the topics a week or two in advance…including biblical tools/commentary/other sermons on the subject.  At the creative team meeting we discern the "Big Idea" of that week’s talk and brainstorm approaches, applications, content, and creative elements.  By Monday evening, I have formed the SIS – Sermon In a Sentence (a sentence that says as succinctly as possible what am I going to say).  I spend some time on Tuesday running the SIS through Andy Stanley’s Me-We-God-You-We outline and making sure all application points to the SIS.  I spend all day Wednesday in a coffee shop writing: I write the introduction and conclusion out completely.  Then I brain-dump all my idea clusters, transitions, thoughts, learning, and research in a mindmap (I have used MindJet for a couple of years).  As an example, the map for this weekend’s talk is to the right:

With the mindmap, I can rearrange, edit, and otherwise manipulate my talk in a graphic form.  When I am satisfied that the flow and organization all support the SIS, I export it to my word processor into a mapoutline template (see below) that I created to help me memorize the talk (I never can memorize it totally).  On Thursday, I edit the mapoutline, color code it for easier  memorization, and review it some more.  Then I put it away totally on Friday, my day off.  I don’t look at it, try not to think about it, and let my sub-conscious mull it over.  Saturday I usually start work around noon, and spend most of the afternoon and early evening tweaking, editing, and memorizing it.  When it is done, I print the mapoutline, paper clip it into my Bible, and take it onto the platform with me.
Then I start all over again!



2 thoughts on “my writing process

  1. I’m not much of a writer but I do appreciate your end product. Interesting to see your process and how you break down such a large task into smaller goals. Keep on preaching! God knows how much I need it!

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