I have recently developed a workflow for sermon preparation that places visuals as the dominant force in the communication process. This has been very helpful to me, so I would like to briefly share it with you.
this is the final PowerPoint of the example sermon described in this post.
- Study and meditate on the text, obviously.
- Think through the sermon as a series of visual blocks of thought (I am an artist, so I literally draw these things in a sketch app on my iPad. But, anyone can think through some use of image, chart, graphic that can be readily found online through a Google image search).
- Plot out your sermon as a series of PowerPoint slides with the key images and/or text on each slide before you write anything down. This is similar to storyboarding a film.
- Open a Word document and begin writing your sermon frame-by-frame, following the path of your PowerPoint. Type slide 1, hit return, and start writing. (see fig. 1)
- Keep the text short and concise for each frame.
- When you have finished your first draft in Word, check your total document word count (I preach at roughly 100 words per minute, so a 15-minute sermon should be around 1500 words).
- Open your PowerPoint document (because you’ve already made it, right?) and click View>Master>Notes Master (alt-command-3 on the Mac) (see fig. 2)
- Reduce the size of the slide image at the top of the page.
- Select all the text in the body and increase the font size to 18.
- Close the master view.
- Click View>Notes Page (command-3 on Mac)
- Copy the text from your Word document from each slide section and paste it into the notes text for that slide.
- Format the text to emphasize parts of the sermon for quick visual recognition while preaching. (see figs. 3, 4, 5)
- Print the PowerPoint Notes pages as a booklet (this is a feature on our copier/printer in the office. It will take each letter-size notes page, reduce it to a half page, and bookletize the whole document front and back. It’s like magic!).
- Caution: Make sure you print the Notes pages, not the slides!!!!
- Fold your bookletized notes, staple them in the seam if you like, insert in Bible, and viola, a handy preaching manuscript!
- Print the Word document for your projectionist. S/he will thank you for the clarity and ease with which to follow you as you preach.
Here is a PDF of an entire manuscript done in this way. This was printed as a PDF directly from PowerPoint. It is not the reduced bookletized form. That is done through the printer. You could skip steps 14 & 16 and work off of the 8.5×11 notes, especially if you preach from a pulpit or podium. I don’t, so that’s why I do the insert format.
Let me know if this is helpful, or just the workings of a crazy artist-preacher.