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If you want to outline a sermon in under an hour.
I promised that I'd teach you how to craft a complete sermon outline in less than an hour.
Here is the qualification.
You must remove all distractions.
Treat them like mosquitoes at a picnic or a fly in the kitchen.
They must not be permitted to exist.
Distraction may be the primary reason sermon prep takes longer than it should.
And you know exactly what I mean.
You sit down to work on your sermon but in seven minutes you are checking scores on ESPN.com.
Then you wonder what the weather is going to be like tomorrow. So, you get your phone.
Now you're toast.
What's Twitter up to?
Then just a quick check-in with Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok.
Eventually, you look at your watch, and realize you just burned forty-two minutes of the sermon prep hour! 😬
Discipline to say "no" to distraction helps. But for most of us, we need to banish as many temptations as we can.
A simple way to do this is to silence notifications on your phone, tablet, and computer.
On your phone, turn on airplane mode, which leaves the phone on, but disables the cell signal and internet connection.
You can do the same with most computers.
If you have issues with not being available, text the folks you think might try to contact you and tell them, "For the next hour (or two, or a few), I'll be working on this week's sermon and will have airplane mode on. I'll check in when I come up for air."
However, if you need an internet connection to use your study tools, the temptation to open a browser tab and surf is always there, especially to check… email. 😬
Now, it may be possible for you to exercise self-control with distractibility.
But if you struggle, an app like Freedom was designed with us mind, which is able to disable whitelist certain websites and blacklist others for a certain span of time that you set. This allows you to use the internet selectively.
But what about doing sermon prep in a coffee shop or some other public place? Or what about listening to music?
We all have our own wiring which plays into what enables us to focus.
I spend most of my time alone in my study where I can really get in a zone.
But sometimes, I get stir crazy and need to see people. So I'll go to a coffee shop.
Unless I forget my headphones (ugh!), I plug brown noise in my ears if I'm in a public place.
And boom. Focus!
And that is the point.
We need to be able to focus.
For you, it may be instrumental jazz or maybe, total quiet.
Whatever enables you to focus without distraction.
That's our aim for sermon prep, especially when we're in the one-hour sermon outline zone.
Sermon prep takes a unique focus.
At least, if we hope to craft a complete sermon outline within the hour.
So, in prep, focus on focus, and, using the PPGR system, you'll have a complete sermon outline ready in under an hour.