I preached this past Sunday, and due to certain circumstances I started writing my sermon on paper. My wife Alicia was interviewing on Friday for a residency next year and I went with her (mostly for the free meals). There were four separate interviews scheduled, so I thought that would give me some good time by myself. I took with me the notes I had made about the text for the week and some paper and a pen so I could write my sermon while she was in her interviews.
Usually, I write my sermons (like most people, I ‘d expect) on the computer. Computers are so much more efficient, right? You can cut and paste, move things around, look up a verse real quick and insert it into the sermon with just a few clicks. So, I wasn’t looking forward to writing my sermon on paper last friday, but I wasn’t going to lug my computer around all day.
When Alicia went into her first interview, I put my head down and started writing my sermon. Her first interview ended up being really short, probably 20 minutes, but in that period of time I wrote, mostly in outline form, over half of my sermon. There was something about putting the pen on the paper with no distractions–no internet, no email, no twitter–that allowed me to focus and think clearly. I wasn’t able to finish the sermon while I was there, so I took what I had written home.
I decided that I would finish writing the sermon on paper, even though I was at home. So, I sat down and cranked out the rest of the sermon in almost no time. Later, I transcribed what I had written to the computer and made a few minor edits, but for the most part I really enjoyed writing a sermon on paper. I’ve heard it said that poets should never write poetry on a computer; it makes the process too technological and removes the organic creativity that comes when stroking a pen across a sheet of paper. Perhaps sermon writing is the same way.
Have you tried writing a sermon in a different method than normal? What were the results?