Dr. Bryan Chapell’s Process of Sermon Preparation


CCP Bryan Chapell


The steps preachers take in preparing messages vary according to the personality of the preacher, the time available, the nature of the occasion, the type of sermon, the prior knowledge the preacher has of the text, and many other factors. Still, general guidance is helpful as preachers begin developing their own personal approach to preparing sermons.

Sometimes this guidance comes in colloquial terms: “I read myself full, think myself clear, pray myself hot, and let myself go.” Other times the guidance receives more academic treatment: “Read the text, research the material, then focus everything on a single idea. The following preparation pyramid captures the essence of these formulas while emphasizing ideas central to expository preaching.


14) Preach

13) Pray

12) Practice

11) Reduce to Outline

10) Write Sermon Body (Interchangeable with 9)

9) Write Conclusion and Introduction (Interchangeable with 10)

8) Plan Developmental Matter

7) Create a Homiletical Outline (Proposition and Main points)

6) Collect Developmental Matter (Quotes, statistics, illustrations, key terms, commentary, data, etc.)

5) Consider Specific Applications

4) Research the Text (History, grammar, exegetical outline, issues, etc.)

3) Identify the Fallen Condition Focus

2) Read and Digest the Thought of the Text

1) Spiritual Preparation: Piety, Planning, and Prayer

*SOURCE: Adapted from Bryan Chapell. “Appendix 3: Methods of Preparation” in Christ-Centered Preaching. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2005.

Author: lifecoach4God

I am the Lead Pastor of Marin Bible Church (Bay Area), born and raised in Huntington Beach, Ca., and currently living in Novato, California. I am married to my best friend of 30 years - Dana - and have five adult children; and seven grand children. I have been a Teaching Pastor for over thirty years. I was privileged to study at Multnomah University (B.S. - 1988); Talbot School of Theology (M.Div. - 1991); Westminster Theological Seminary & Northwest Graduate School (D. Min. - 2003). I founded Vertical Living Ministries in 2008 with the goal of encouraging Christian Disciples and Leaders to be more intentionally Christ-Centered in how they live by bringing glory to God in nine key areas of life: (1) Intimacy with God, (2) marriage, (3) family, (4) friendship, (5) vocationally/ministry , (6) emotional and physical health, (7) stewardship of resources, (8) discipleship, and (9) mentoring.

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