Sermonsmith is a podcast dedicated to celebrating and learning about the rhythms, workflows, tools, and prayers used by the people who are deeply engaged in the art of sermon writing. It’s creator and host John Chandler, a church planter and part-time web developer from Austin, generates a bi-weekly podcast that is straight forward: John interviews pastors and ministry leaders about their approach to the task of sermon preparation.
There’s virtually no aspect of the peculiar art form of sermon writing that John has not mulled over with his guests, and he has a knack for getting people to open up. The conversations tend to be wide ranging and informative as he and his guest nearly always move beyond talking shop to provide a glimpse into the creative and spiritual heart of pastors and teachers.
The sheer volume involved in weekly preaching is somewhat daunting. My sermon writing amounts to cranking out a three-thousand-plus word long-form essay somewhere around 40 times a year. That’s 136,000 words or more… enough to fill two full-length books—and it needs to be good. Those who preach typically serve as pastors and senior leaders, so they are constantly juggling meetings, leadership, planning, counseling, visitation, sermon prep, personal development, and a truckload of expectations from within and without (not to mention our own neurotic need to be liked, and to please others).
Nearly universally (and for many different reasons), teaching pastors who generate a new sermon forty-plus weeks a year instinctively know we need to talk with one another. The process of study and writing is arduous, and it can be a bit crazy-making. Relationships through which we can learn and grow, be encouraged and inspired are essential to longevity in this work that we do.
It’s cliché to say this job of being a pastor can be hazardous to your health, but that doesn’t make it any less true. So, it’s a real gift that John Chandler is curating this healthy and rich space in which pastors can come to find inspiration, seed their imagination, and refine their approach to the task of sermon writing through engagement with other pastors. I am grateful to have been a part of it. So, without further ado, here is my contribution: