I recently changed the way I’m writing sermons. For one, I’ve started writing a manuscript. After preaching with little more than an outline for over a decade, it’s been an interesting shift… but that’s the subject of another post. The shift I’m talking about here goes even further than that.
Right now, I’m a student at Reformed Baptist Seminary. I love it – I’m growing, learning, and being stretched. But one of the things that’s required is writing papers. Lots of them. And after almost a decade between college and seminary, I’m realizing how much I stink at academic writing. I’ve blogged, prepared sermons, written a few articles, etc. over the years – but this is different. Thoughtful, logical, extended writing. It’s a very different style that I’m trying to learn.
And the other day it hit me… manuscripting a sermon is a lot like writing a paper. And so I’ve started to writing my sermon manuscripts with Turabian formatting. Seriously. There’s a cover page, a table of contents (which actually serves as a bare bones outline), and a works cited section. Each main point gets a first level heading, each sub-point gets a second level heading. When I quote someone, reference the original language, or borrow a thought from a book – it gets a footnote now.
Now, I won’t preach from that. I format it down using a template I’ve put together – sized perfectly for the iPad, .25″ margins, 18 point font, each sentence beginning a new line.
But for having a record and more formal copy of the manuscript, I am now a Turabian sermon writer. This is either really awesome or makes me the biggest nerd in the world - I haven’t decided which yet. Maybe both?