Have you ever preached a Saturday Night Special? A Saturday Night Special is a sermon you start preparing at the last minute on Saturday night before you preach it on Sunday morning. For my entire ministry I’ve heard countless seasoned pastors warn against preaching a Saturday Night Special. I’m sure you have too so I’m not going to add anything new to that advice. Instead, I want to do something different. I want to talk about what to do if you find yourself facing a Saturday Night Special.
Let me be clear. I’m not talking about bailing you out after you’ve neglected sermon preparation or have procrastinated. I’m talking about working to prepare a sermon when your time and attention has been spent on life’s circumstances. When can you carve out time to study and prepare a sermon? Saturday night, right?
So, here are some ideas to help your Saturday Night Special sound more like a Sunday Morning Masterpiece.
1. Stay in the word. Daily reading, even one verse can inspire you. If you already know the passage for your next sermon, stay connected to it by reading it every free moment you can find. Read it while you’re waiting on your next appointment, at halftime of your kid’s ball game, while you’re eating (instead of watching TV). Read and meditate on the word each day and you’ll be more comfortable when it’s time to write.
2. Employ the word. Treat your Saturday Night Special like a topical sermon. There are countless passages of scripture for any topic you’re preaching. Cross reference the scriptures to find other passages that add to or explain your key scripture. Basically, you can employ the word to explain itself.
3. Deliver the word. Don’t try to wing it. Just deliver the word you’ve prepared. God’s word won’t return to him void. If your usual sermon is 30 minutes but you only have 20 minutes of content, deliver the clearest communicated, most doctrinally sound message you can. Make it easy to follow, easy to understand, and easy to remember.
A Saturday Night Special should be an exception and not the norm. But if life gets overwhelming and you find yourself in this position, I pray these tips will help you.