Sermon Preparation Worksheet

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Identify Your Text:

A biblical sermon derives its message from the Bible. Choosing a primary text is the simplest and strongest way to present God's Word. Multiple text messages put a greater burden on the preacher to make the correct connections and to construct things effectively.

Identify your text:

 What’s The Big Idea?

Every text has a big idea - the one main idea that God wants to communicate through this text to these people at this time. In other words, the big idea is the message. Try to express your big idea in a single, simple sentence. Aim for less than 10 words if you can. Try not to omit anything important, yet without using any conjunctions (i.e. and, but, if, or). Complex theme sentences tend to create complex sermons.

What 10 word description best presents your sermon’s big idea?


 What Is The Story?
Every text has a story. If we can identify the humanity inherent in the text we have a stronger chance of communicating powerfully with our listeners. The most effective way of addressing the classic homiletic problem of text and today is to develop the human elements that are found in the storyline of the passage.

What is the story in your text?

 

What’s The Point?
Having understood the story, now we look to make the point. In many (most) cases, the point of the sermon will be summarized by the "big idea" or message that was determined earlier. The point is the propositional (cognitive) truth intended by the text, however, here you are given the ability to elaborate.

What is the point of your sermon?

 

What’s The Problem?
Having established the point, the preacher ought to consider the problem. There is always a problem. If listeners have no objection or contrary assumptions, then there is little point in preaching. Dealing with the problem helps us access a deeper level in the listener's mind.

What is the problem in your text?

 

What’s The Difference?
We preach to encourage change. The sermon always intends a difference. Discovering the message requires exegesis not only of the text but also of the listeners. The challenge is to find the emotional keys that will motivate the desired change in the heart and life of the listener.

What will motivate your listeners to change?

 

So What?
The listener needs a reason to listen. We can't assume that they will be appropriately motivated to listen avidly to what we say. Imagine the listener sitting back in his or her chair saying "So what." In this opening section of the sermon the preacher connects the original story behind the text with the contemporary listener's situation to answer the listener's desire for relevance.

Why should the listener be motivated to listen to this sermon?

 

What’s The Point?
Having established a connection between the listener and the text, the preacher now works to make the point. Telling the story is important but just as important is the preacher's effort to establish the propositional truths intended by the text in order to make the points from the text as God has lead you. The preacher needs to lay out the cognitive content of the sermon so as to inform the listener of "what's the point."

What are your points that lead to your big idea?

 

Now What?
The sermon concludes with the question, "now what." Having established the point and engaged the problem, the preacher moves to imagine the difference. The intent is to motivate the listener to a meaningful obedience through affective appeal and tangible example.

You have lead the listeners to this point, now what?

 

Yeah, but…
Now the sermon moves to the listener's side. Just because we have made the point does not mean that the listener is prepared to respond to the truth. There is always something getting in the way - some objection or presupposition that interferes with our ability to obey. Imagine the listener saying, "Yeah, I understand what the Bible says, but I have this problem..."  The wise preacher will take advantage of the situation in order to engage the listener at a deeper level. Such a preacher will engage the problem

What objection(s) do you anticipate and how do you address it/them?

 

Sermon Title:

The title ought to create interest in the sermon. Preachers may want to offer a creative title making use of the "big idea" statement as a subtitle.

What is your sermon title?

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