Ministers and Southwestern Assemblies of God University alumni Wade Bearden and Justin Trapp recently set a financial goal of $10,000 on Kickstarter. The funds would be used to finish developing “Sermonary,” a web platform designed to aid in sermon construction, presentation and storage.
Two hours later, that goal was reached.
In about the time it takes to finish a movie, Bearden and Trapp sat in astonishment as a surge of funds continued to flood in surpassing their financial goal.
“When we got into the office on the day the Kickstarter launched, there were already over a dozen pastors who had backed the project,” said Bearden. “It snowballed from there, and within a few hours we hit our goal.
The co-creators were initially uncertain of the overall response from pastors over the web platform. However, as ministers themselves, Bearden says they understand the time that goes into writing a meaningful, biblically-based sermon each week. Bearden and Trapp believe that “Sermonary” could prove to be a valuable tool for pastors in this process.
"While there will always be plenty of hard work involved, we wanted to create a platform that would help pastors be more efficient and effective,” Bearden said.
With impressive technological advances regarding Bible research and study, the two felt it was time for pastors to receive the same level of support for their sermon writing processes.
Approximately 84 percent of pastors are still building sermons using Microsoft Word or other similar word processing programs. Programs such as Microsoft Word have been developed for a broad range of writing. However, Sermonary is the first of its kind because its unique function is to aid in the sermon developmental process.
The platform is divided into three main categories: fill-in-the-blank sermon structure templates, a presentation mode, and an extensive resource library—all three combining to provide the most efficient pastoral sermon-building tool possible.
“Our favorite option for sermon creation is the Blocks Editor, which allows pastors to build and edit a sermon using different ‘blocks,’ separating their message into manageable and organized chunks,” said Trapp. “This includes sections for exposition, illustrations, congregation application, and quotes.” Sermonary also allows users to create their own custom templates in Blocks Mode, accommodating preachers of all styles and levels of expertise.
“We believe this is going to be an incredible tool for pastors, and we can’t wait to get this into their hands,” said Bearden. Bearden received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from SAGU and is now a faculty member in the Bible and Theology department. “I can see this platform being used by pastors, professors, and students across the world. “Sermonary” is a tool that will help soon-to-be pastors learn how to preach, and help those who are already pastors be more productive with their preparation time. It’s humbling, to say the least.”
Sermonary will be active on Kickstarter until August 30, where qualifying backers will receive a year of membership, accessible via http://sermonarykickstarter.com. The platform will release to the public this fall.
Currently, the Sermonary Kickstarter is nearly 400 percent funded, and that number continues to climb every day.