For some time now I’ve been hearing lots of pastor friends talk about the benefits of Mind Mapping for sermon preparation and other uses. I was not familiar with the concept, so after some research, it looked quite interesting. I have never been a fan of the idea that sermons must be outlined in a three (or more if you’re really Reformed)-point model. I don’t think in a linear model and I’ve always struggled with finding the right flow to idea development and presentation flow.
That’s exactly where mind mapping comes in. It allows you to visually organize concepts around a central concept. While similar to an outline in theory, it is actually much more intuitive because it allows ideas to freely flow without being forced into an already-existing pattern (though in a sense, this is still what you’re doing). You can visually see how concepts relate and connect.
For me, this works best after I’ve done my exegetical work in my Moleskine (yes, I know, let the “hipster” ridicule begin, but seriously, it is the best notebook I’ve used!). So, I spend the beginning part of the week working through the text with pen and paper, opening a Mind Map, looking for that central, uniting theme of the sermon. Then, later in the week, once that theme has emerged, I work through a mindmap of the sermon, sometimes after working through a mindmap of the text itself (this is done in conjunction with Bible Arcing, but I personally find mind mapping the text itself quite helpful). The combination of pen and paper exegetical work with mind mapping then allows me to preach without notes. I do take a copy of my mind map into the pulpit with me but I rarely look at it. After downloading the free trial of Mindjet, I was hooked.
I’ve been asked by several people to see what a sermon might look like in a mind map, so I’m including a coupe here to look at. This first one is an incomplete map of the sermon I’m currently working through from Acts 15. We are considering Acts 15 in conjunction with Romans 14 and 1 Corinthians 8. In Acts 15, the Apostles specifically to avoid meat sacrificed to idols while in Romans and Corinthians, Paul makes allowance for it (for a bigger version click on the image):
Here is a mindmap from a sermon on Acts 13:48: “And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed” (again, for a larger version simply click on the image):
I’m certainly no expert on this and there are readers here more experienced in this than I am but I wanted to pass this along. Hopefully it will be a benefit for you.