thoughts/ideas/opinions from scott hodge

Monday, April 26


I'm not sure if anyone is going to really care to hear about all of this, but I thought I would respond via a post to a question that Betsy asked regarding why, we as speakers/teachers/pastors often times wait until the last minute to tweak or work on our messages.

First of all, everyone is different. I know teaching pastors who have the luxury of spending the majority of their week studying, preparing and working on their weekly message and they more than likely do not carry administrative or staffing leadership responsibilities. If I had that luxury (don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy what I do most of the time...) I'm sure that I would probably not have to spend Saturday nights doing last minute touch up's on my messages. Although, I may be wrong about that.

In the context of my role as "executive pastor" here at this church, my main responsibilities include (but are not limited to) teaching several times per month (either in a worship gathering or in some sort of class or leadership training) and managing and leading the day to day operations of our church (administrative, staff team leadership, etc...). Aside from all of this, I also lead our music team that leads worship in 2 services every weekend and rehearses once per week.

So, with this said, sometimes Saturday nights are my time to tweak or "fine tune" my messages. The weeks that I speak at our worhip gatherings, I probably spend somewhere in the neighborhood of 8-10 hours minimum in preparation for a 30-35 minute message. And this number can quickly increase if a lot of outside research is necessary.

The other side of all of this is the way creativity and ideas come and go. There are times that I sit down to write and I just don't have it. Sometimes it depends on the mood I'm in or the atmosphere of which I'm working.

I usually run about 3-4 drafts of my message. My first draft is a sheet with a bunch of ideas and concepts scribbled all over it. The second draft is usually where I begin writing the message - either from the top down or sometimes in no particular order at all. My third draft is the full message - with illustrations, creative elements, etc... thrown in. My fourth and final draft (sometimes this is my fifth or sixth draft) is the final product which I always rehearse, time and review over and over again. And these "drafts" are not the "rule" - it changes almost all the time.

For me (and most teaching pastors I know), preparing a message is not a one time sit down effort. It is a week long (or longer) collaboration of ideas and thoughts that we all hope will fall together and flow well by the end of the week. And the greatest hope that we have is that someone will walk away with a change of thought or heart.

Mix all this with someone who has ADD and you've got me! But seriously, it's not easy - almost never easy to just throw something together that I'm proud of. It takes a lot of work and sometimes a lot of late nights and last minute changes. I know it can make things complicated and frustrating for the support staff at times, but that is when the motto that I love and sometimes hate needs to come into play: IT'S NOT ABOUT ME.

Oh, and by the way - I usually have my powerpoints, video clips, etc... done by Friday morning. The fine tuning usually doesn't effect the creative elements that other people are involved with. However, I have before - at the last minute - thrown out a drama or video that had a lot of hard work put into it. I don't ever like doing that, but at the same time if it doesn't fit or flow well with everything else, the call has to be made. If your team culture understands that, then it's not something that is taken personally - because again, it's the big picture that counts.