How long do famous pastors take to prepare a sermon?

Pastoralized.com has a fascinating article on how much time famous pastors spend each week in sermon preparation. Perhaps what’s most interesting is how much the numbers vary. Mark Driscoll is at the bottom end, saying that he spends 1-2 hours per week on his sermon. Mark Dever is at the top end, saying that he spends 30-35 hours. John Piper, Tim Keller, and a host of others fall somewhere in between. Read it here.

7 Responses to How long do famous pastors take to prepare a sermon?

  1. Chris Taylor October 8, 2013 at 1:03 pm #

    My recollection is that Kent Hughes actually spent a lot longer on a sermon in his younger years. It was only after years of labor over the word that he was able to cut down his sermon prep time.

    I might also add, for most pastors, famous or not, we can tell when you have failed to spend an adequate amount of time over the text. Ironically, it often seems that there is an inverse relationship between the time spent prepping and the time spent preaching. Preachers know when they haven’t really communicated the fuzzy thoughts floating around in their minds, so they attempt to make up for it by attempting to fix things on the spot. Better to fix it before you present it.

    I know that this isn’t easy (I’ve tried), but it is important.

  2. Don Johnson October 8, 2013 at 5:45 pm #

    Presenting tech talks is about 40 to 1.

    • Randall Seale October 10, 2013 at 12:04 am #

      @ Don Johnson

      Not sure what “tech talks” you have in mind but I’ve made numerous technical presentations and 40:1 seems high. Granted, I never timed myself on either preparation or presentation.

      Regarding sermon prep, my experience is that it varies substantially (from 2 – 20 hours).

  3. buddyglass October 8, 2013 at 9:02 pm #

    I’d imagine the prep time goes down the more you can re-use past sermons. Not that that’s a bad thing.

  4. Micah Carter October 9, 2013 at 10:21 am #

    Some good info from Thom Rainer on this as well, here: http://thomrainer.com/2013/06/22/how-much-time-do-pastors-spend-preparing-a-sermon/

  5. PASTOR HABUERT October 9, 2013 at 1:16 pm #

    I wonder how long pastors spending PRAYING over their sermon? Any thoughts?

  6. Andy Stevenson October 9, 2013 at 7:24 pm #

    Mark Dever’s sermons are excellent, I’m not surprised he spends quite a bit of time on them.

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