This is probably the most counterintuitive advice you’re going to ever receive from the developer of a digital tool for crafting sermons, so listen carefully:

Start Analog.

These mysterious machines on which we read, write, explore, and connect are fantastic tools to be used in their own right—but they are not the work itself. They are doorways through which you can explore the world—but they are not the world itself. They can help you collect your thoughts, and discipline your words.

They have their place, to be sure. But they can’t have the “first” place. You can’t let the machine take over. Too many pastors (and every other kind of human) are getting lost in the boxes, and we’re losing something of ourselves.

shawshank_redemption_andy_dufrense_in_rain
This is the moment when Andy finally steps outside to meditate on his sermon.

Don’t start with the machine. Start outside of the box. Start in a chair with a Bible in your lap. Start on the floor with a notepad. Start with a long walk, churning over the text in your mind. Start in the sanctuary, thinking about the people that will come to worship this week. Start at a conference room table with a big sheet of paper and set of markers. Start with a legal pad and nicely sharpened pencil.

Start outside of the machine. Become disciplined to only go to the computer when it’s the right tool for the piece of work you’re doing in that moment.

I love a good piece of tech—but I didn’t get into this line of work to spend my working days looking into a screen, and neither did you. So, be careful to use those tools when the task calls for them—and resist the machine when it calls for you.

Start Analog

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