People are often surprised to find out I don’t outline my sermons. I use the manuscript method. That means I write out every word. On Sunday mornings, I read them the same way, breaking occasionally to include other things that are not in the manuscript. My sermons do not look “read” and they certainly do not sound “read,” but that’s what I do.
I do it that way because my brain races 24 hours a day. When I am trying to make a point, ten thousand other points present themselves as either needing to be expressed instead, or as needing to be expressed in order to set my main point more fully in context. It never ends. I find it extremely difficult to speak in a straight line of thinking, without bouncing around constantly. Sometimes in my graduate classes I get off on some tangent and forget what I was originally trying to say. I love what I do, I’m good at it, and passionate about it, but without doubt I am the nutty professor.
If I didn’t write out my sermon manuscript word for word, here is what my sermons would be like. I’m not kidding. Just a line of nonsequiters and nonsense. I even struggle when speaking to friends and clients. If I could, I would literally never say a word without writing it out first. Seriously, it’s a huge mess up here in my brain.