Saddlebackresources.com is an excellent website that I have greatly benefitted from in numerous ways since starting New Day. There are many times I’ve downloaded an individual message or an entire series from the “sermons” section of their site. Here’s how this has helped me:
- By listening to a master communicator (Rick Warren) I learn how to better communicate myself.
- If he’s done a series on a certain subject – let’s say Financial Fitness – I like to see what topics Rick chose to cover within that series (i.e. saving, living on a budget, tithing, contentment, etc). I figure that a huge church like Saddleback has probably spend a good bit of money and time learning what topics people need to learn about. I don’t have the resources to do those kinds of studies myself, but by taking a look at what topics they’ve chosen I can benefit from what they have learned.
- I also like to see the outline of an individual message. This has often helped me frame my own sermon. I will take Rick’s outline and then fill it in myself.
- Even when I listen to a message and can’t use the outline or decide to go in a different direction than taking the approach Rick has, I always find a nugget or two I can use with whatever I end developing. It might be a funny illustration, a great quote or a Scripture verse I hadn’t come across yet, but there’s always something worthwhile.
- While I continue to benefit from listening to (or reading) Rick’s sermons today (from time to time), this is something that I especially found helpful in the early years of the church, when I didn’t have full-time staff and I didn’t have nearly as much time as I have now to spend on sermon prep.
The site additionally has great small group studies (i.e. Raising Your Kids Without Raising Your Blood Pressure) and leadership training.
p.s. I heard Andy Stanley once say that he won’t rob his people of great material just because he didn’t think of it first. In other words, he’s not opposed to using other peoples material if he thinks it will bless his congregation. I couldn’t agree more. I view sermon prep like cooking. When entertaining guests, my goal isn’t necessarily to come up with a great original recipe, rather to serve something delicious. I’m not too proud to use someone else’s recipe in food or sermon prep.