Every year in November, BSSM’s second year students get ready for what we lovingly call “Preach Week.” During Preach Week, every single second year student must preach an eight to ten minute sermon based on a Scripture. Their Scripture is assigned to them by the school’s administration. It’s a week full of anxiety, grace, encouragement, revelation, and hopefully, learning. The students push through and complete the assignments leading up to their actual sermon, and then bravely preach to a group of about 20 to 30 students. If they choose to do third year, they also have the opportunity to preach to the entire third year class, which is about 500+ students.
The goal of Preach Week is not to instill a sense of anxiety in students. Your goal is to prepare your students to teach Scripture and gain exposure to preaching to more than a handful of people, and to teach them how to dig deep into the Scriptures. While not every student will become a preacher, taking on the fear of public speaking brings surprising breakthrough to many students.
Below, we outline how we organize Preach Week with the goal of helping your school activate your students in preaching the gospel.
Assign a Verse
In BSSM, all second year students must preach on a Bible verse. They are assigned this verse by the administrative staff, and they are not allowed to preach on a different verse. This encourages the students to find truth in all Scripture and to learn how to prepare any Scripture to be taught. The verses are assigned to groups of students alphabetically by their last name.
About six weeks before Preach Week, BSSM Dean, Dann Farrelly speaks to the second year class. Every student is assigned “A Non-Comprehensive Step-by Guide to Sermon Preparation” as well as the “Preaching Project Assignment Guidelines” for homework to be completed before Preach Week. Students complete the homework, which can take about two to three hours, and turn it in to their pastor.
Once they have completed these two homework assignments, students should have an outline of their message. Students are required to preach their sermon out loud to friends or housemates at least two times before preaching it to their group in their final presentation, and get feedback from the people they are practicing with. This allows them to become comfortable delivering their sermon, as well as make any necessary adjustments according to the feedback they receive from their peers.
Preach Week Practicals
In BSSM, Preach Week takes three days, Monday through Wednesday. Students are split into groups of 20 to 30 students and assigned a room to report to. Not every student in the room has the same Bible verse.
Students are broken up into groups of five or six within the group of 20 to 30 students. Each group is responsible for evaluating a student. For example, the first group of five or six students is responsible for evaluating the first, six, eleventh, sixteenth, and twenty-first student preacher. The second group is responsible for evaluating the second, seventh, twelfth, seventeenth, and twenty-second student preacher, and so on.
Students are given a Simplified Evaluation sheet to fill out for each of the students they are assigned to evaluate. These filled out forms are immediately given to the student preachers when they are done preaching so they can review them and discover areas of improvement and where they succeeded.
Each room has a handful of overseers. These overseers bring order to the preaching group, and give each student verbal feedback immediately after their sermon. Verbal feedback should consist of areas where students need to grow and areas they did well in. The “hero sandwich” (compliment, area of growth, compliment) can work well in this situation. The overseers are given an Advanced Evaluation form to fill out and give to students when they are done preaching. Preach Week finishes when each student has preached a message.
Third Year Preaching
In our third year class, preaching looks a little different. Each student is assigned one of BSSM’s thirteen core values to preach on according to their last name. The only guidelines are that the students must preach on their assigned core value, and it has to be under ten minutes.
Third year students are not given homework to prepare for their sermon, nor are they guaranteed they will preach. Third year students spend two class days listening to students preach. Students are randomly selected to preach the day of, with two or three alternatives selected in case the chosen student is not in class. The chosen student must then preach their sermon in front of the entire third year class!
An alternative option is to split your students into groups of four to six students and have them preach their sermons to each other. That group then chooses the best sermon in the group, and merge with another group. The two “winners” of each group preach to the two groups, and a “winner” is selected from the two. This continues until there are just two or three “winners,” who then preach to the entire class.
Take these guidelines and apply them to your school as you see fit. Your school may not need three days to hear everyone preach. You may want your overseers to fill out the Simplified Evaluation form and not the Advanced Evaluation form. Do whatever works for your school to get your students activated in the Word.
We bless you and your students to develop a hunger for sharing the Word, advancing in breakthrough, and sharing the kingdom!
These eight BSSM Video Curriculum sessions, which are available on BSSM Equip, can help your students gain a deeper understanding to preaching preparation. In these messages, BSSM Dean, Dann Farrelly teaches the students how to prepare and deliver a sermon.
Lesson 1: Inductive Bible Study, Part 1-4 – 2049
Dann Farrelly shares steps on how to study and complete an analysis of Scripture to understand the context of the original author and apply the principles today.
Lesson 2: Comparing Translations & Lesson 3: Biblical Interpretation – 2059
Dann Farrelly continues his biblical studies teaching covering how to navigate different translations and how to interpret the message in passages of Scripture.
Lesson 4: The Preaching Project, Part 1 – 2066
This is the first of a two-part teaching of how to develop a sermon message. Dann Farrelly shares practical steps with students on how to prepare to study for and deliver a sermon.
Lesson 5: The Preaching Project, Part 2 – 2069
This is the continuation of a two-part teaching of how to develop a sermon message. Dann Farrelly shares practical steps with students on how to prepare to study for and deliver a sermon.
Lesson 6: Sermon Preparation – 2079
Dann Farrelly discusses how to prepare for a sermon, including how to study the Bible and delivery tips.
Lesson 7: Parable Interpretation – 2089
Dann Farrelly details how to interpret parables. He takes students through an in-class exercise of parable interpretation. As part of this exercise, he reads from Matthew 25:31–46 using the English Standard Version.
Lesson 8: Old Testament Narratives – 2099
Dann Farrelly teaches students how to view stories from the Old Testament and activates them to interpret and apply the principles found within God’s Word.