If you watched our recent Easter Planning Checklist Webinar, you’ll recall that I said everything starts with the message — and it’s true! When preparing for Easter, the most important thing you can do to help make it the best Sunday ever is to start early on your sermon prep! That’s easier said than done sometimes, because it also happens to be one of the most intimidating and high-pressure services to prepare for. Fear not! Here are a few tips for preparing an Easter sermon that will make an impact:
Tell the Story
Whenever I’m feeling the pressure of a big service, my wife gently reminds me, “Just tell the story.” It’s great advice. The reality is that the Word is big enough, powerful enough, and inspired enough that it can handle the heavy lifting. Too many times we feel the pressure to come up with something “no one’s ever heard before,” forgetting that “there’s nothing new under the sun” (Eccl 1:9).
Yes, you should be creative and engaging with your delivery — just don’t forget to tell the story of the resurrection! Tell them about a God and a love and a plan that was too strong for death, and that He arose with all power in His hand!
A Different Perspective
One of my favorite preachers, Pastor J.H. Osborne, was speaking on sermon prep one time and used the microphone in his hand to teach an important lesson. He said, “If I were asked to preach about this microphone, I would want to take it apart and examine it from every possible angle. Don’t just preach about a microphone. Tell me what it is. Tell me about the various components. Tell me why the magnetic field around the coil is important…” All the while, he was disassembling the microphone, at one point holding up the wireless microphone’s battery casing and looking through it like a telescope…
Now, that may sound silly, but the point has stuck with me.
When telling the story, don’t forget to examine it through the lens of every character. There’s the perspective of Pilate, asking “What is truth?” (What a powerful question!) There’s the perspective of Peter, the faithful, fearful follower… There are so many different angles and viewpoints through which to examine the resurrection, we should never be short of “material!”
Leave Them Wanting More
I understand there’s pressure to capitalize on the opportunity of having so many guests. We want to squeeze in as much as we can because “we may not get the chance next week.” I’ve thought it myself (but I’ve also had to tell myself that’s a pretty faithless, fearful thought).
My pastor used to remind me as a young minister that “the mind can only absorb what the seat can endure.” That was better advice than I realized!
I wouldn’t presume to tell you how long you should preach, but I’ll offer this guidance — preach slightly shorter than your typical message. Challenge yourself to be more concise. You may find that forcing yourself to preach 45 minutes instead of 60 yields a greater response!
There’s no shortage of preaching advice out there on the internet, but if you’ll keep these tips in mind, you’ll maximize your sermon’s impact and increase your chances of making a lasting difference.