(This is for pastors on the subject of sermon preparation.)
The most vulnerable time for any sermon is in the couple of days prior to its delivery.
At those times, the pastor does not need to be getting criticism or additional input from helpers (like myself!) or further ideas from deep study. This is when he needs to be putting the finishing touches on his message and getting it ready for delivery.
The first part of the week….
Early in the week–unless the pastor is such a rarity that almost none of this applies to him–he should have nailed down his subject and text for Sunday’s sermon. He should know the “one big idea” the Lord wants communicated. And he should have a general idea where he’s going with this sermon.
How did he get to this point? By staying in the word day in and day out, and mapping out sermon ideas weeks in advance. This way, he has known for at least a couple of weeks that next Sunday he would be preaching from this text on that subject. This is not something he “thunk up” at the last minute. The message has been marinating over these days.