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.
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.
Presenting tech talks is about 40 to 1.
@ 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).
I’d imagine the prep time goes down the more you can re-use past sermons. Not that that’s a bad thing.
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/
I wonder how long pastors spending PRAYING over their sermon? Any thoughts?
Mark Dever’s sermons are excellent, I’m not surprised he spends quite a bit of time on them.