You’ve heard of the five stages of grief? Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance?
Or on a lighter note, the Five Love Languages? Acts Of Service, Words Of Affirmation, Gifts, Quality Time, and physical touch?
So those cinco-centric lists got me thinking: are there five stages of preparing a Sunday sermon?
I believe there are. Here you go:
1. Dismay. You have an idea, a series, a passage, and nothing is coming together. You think “why in the world did I ever believe such a sermon was possible?” This is how I felt in the spring of 2016 at the beginning stages of what became Crash Test Dummies.
2. Digression. Isn’t there something on Facebook that’s more interesting? Maybe some fighting Methodists somewhere? Or possibly I can put a brief snippet of some random rock lyrics up and get a whole group of people thinking that a) my account has been hacked or b) I’m suddenly sad.
3. Duty. Nope. Stop browsing and start working. You’ve got to prepare one every week, including this one. Yes, you’ve got some margin by working ahead, but you’ve still got to get one complete every week.
4. Diligence. This is when bible STAYS open, browser SHUT OFF, pen hits paper, and ideas come. God somehow makes the beginnings of a message come out of a mess like this.
5. Delight. You get a bottom line you like, design a message around it, create an experience of it, and take great delight in praying over it. It GOT DONE, yet again, and in addition to the delight you felt in the preparation, there’s now the relief that God came through again.