The nervous young pastor brought the elderly choir member into his office. It was time to confront the problem. “Jeb,” The pastor began, “I’m going to have to ask you to consider resigning from the choir. We’ve had five or six complaints about your singing.”

Jeb replied, “Is that so? Well, I’ve heard fifty or sixty complaints about your preachin’!”

There they sit every Sunday. Fifty, sixty, or six thousand hungry souls waiting for a word of wisdom to get them through the next week. And there you stand, armed only with a few sheets of paper—the fruit of this week’s study. Cradling a Bible in your hand and harboring hope in your heart, you pray that your effort will prove adequate.

And that’s not your only concern. Already this morning, your people have sampled a smorgasbord of biblical exposition on the radio. What preacher hasn’t felt a tremor of self-consciousness following the “Mighty Chucks” (Swindoll and Colson)?

But you can do this. You are called by God and anointed for this work.

There is no mystery to the preparation of a good sermon. As with building a house, there are stages of construction. The builder who follows a plan and stays on schedule will produce a sound structure. It’s the same with sermon building.

Here are eight steps to building a solid sermon. Follow them, and you’ll have sound shelter for your congregation each Sunday.

1. Work from a Blueprint

“I’m having a terrible time at my church,” one pastor confided. “People are leaving, and those who stay have the same complaint, ‘I’m not getting fed.’”

The preacher went on to outline his Sunday morning routine. He arrived at the church early, about 6:00am, to spend time in prayer.