I kind of stumbled into mind mapping. For 10 years, I had always manuscripted my messages and I needed to switch things up, if for nothing else, to keep my message prep fresh. I’ve now been using my own modified form of mind mapping to write my messages for the past 3 years and have found it to be helpful for the way I work.
Here’s 3 reasons mind mapping has become helpful for me in my message prep:
1. I Can View Everything on One Page
I’m a visual learner and processor, and the ability to create a birds eye view of my message helps me to think through it’s flow, to remember key portions, and to see if I’m too heavy or too light in different areas.
I color-code my messages, using different colors on my mind map to signify different portions of a message (illustrations, a new thought, a key idea, a list, Scripture, or a main point). When I glance at my message, I can get an idea of areas where it might be a little stagnant or overly heavy on illustrations. Here’s a portion of a recent message I gave on Easter, showing illustrations, some statements I wanted to make sure to say a certain way, and a few transitions of ideas.
Not only can I look at that beforehand to know if my message has a good flow, but I then can glance at it on my iPad while preaching to help me remember where I’m headed next.
When I would write my messages on a word-processor, they would often be 7-10 pages long, so I was never able to get a idea of what was happening with my message at a glance.
2. I Can Write in a Non-Linear Style
I often don’t write the beginning of my messages first, or the end of my messages last. The way that I tend to work is that I have an idea about a particular portion of it, and I work through that idea and then will often jump to another portion somewhere else.
Mind mapping allows me to easily jump around while I’m writing my message. I can put together a broad, bare-bones outline and fill in the portions in whatever way I want.
Of course, you can do this on any word-processor, but again, I’ve found it helpful to utilize the non-linear form of the 1 page mind map to make it easier to engage in writing in this way.
3. I Can Rearrange My Message Easily
When I put together a message, I will often have thoughts or ideas that fit in the message, but once they’re written down, they don’t seem to fit in the particular portion of the message I’ve put them in. With a mind map, I zoom out to get a bird’s eye picture of the entire message and can easily rearrange pieces of it, dragging and dropping them where they fit better.
Mike Goldsworthy is the Lead Pastor at Parkcrest Christian Church.