Toby Neal

Updated 2 July 2021

Templates mentioned in this paper

Preaching Pyramid [pdf, doc]

Sermon Template (Outline) [pdf, docx]

Sermon Template [docx]


The preaching of God’s word is the centre of every gathering of God’s people. It’s when people hear the living word of God which is sharper than any double-edged sword. It comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable. It saves sinners and transforms saints. It is the means by which God’s church is built and grows.

Each Sunday people come to church to hear God speak. Under God, you have the great responsibility of being the messenger of salvation. Under God, if you waste this moment, people may walk away despising Christ. But if you do your all to present Christ in this moment, people will walk away new citizens of heaven.

Vine Church expects those who aspire to the high office of teaching to prepare well for each sermon they deliver. For each sermon, you will have four meetings with your trainer to help you teach and apply God’s word to the lives of His people. It is expected that you will have come to each meeting having prepared the following material, and having followed the steps below.

Meeting 1: Review preaching pyramid (1 hour)

Meeting 2: Review updated preaching pyramid and review summary outline (1.5 hours)

Meeting 3: Review draft full text sermon (1 hour)

Meeting 4: Review final text sermon and practice delivery (1 hour)

Some people ask whether this process is flexible. Some parts are, but others aren’t.

What is inflexible is the stages you need to go through in writing your sermon. No one can write a sermon without going through the basic stages of:

  1. understanding the text and big idea (Preaching Pyramid);
  2. planning the sermon (sermon outline);
  3. writing a draft sermon; and
  4. editing a your draft and writing a final.

What is flexible is how you personally prepare your sermon. I have tried to give you a step by step guide below to help you understand how to get through each of the basic stages of writing. If you have another way to get through each stage of preparation, go for it.

Another thing that is flexible is the amount of time we spend in each review meeting. It all depends on how well you come prepared to the meeting. If you’re outline at meeting 2 is complete, clear and helpful, then that meeting can be quick. If it isn’t, then we need 1.5 hours to rework it so you go into the next stage ready to write your draft. Likewise if you provide the quality that amounts to a final manuscript instead of a draft at meeting 3, we will bypass meeting 4 altogether. Unless your first name is Charles, last name is Spurgeon, then it's unlikely you will get that far that quick. It's a process. Go with it.

Preparation for Meeting 1