5 Things a Sermon Needs

The word “sermon” comes from an old Latin word meaning “discourse.”  But a sermon is far more important than a speech.  A properly prepared and delivered message is a powerful thing – God’s truth delivered through the voice of a herald.


In most church services, the sermon is a central element.  It’s too important to cut-and-paste.  It deserves focus, skill and passion.


So how do you preach a sermon that is faithful to the text, honors God, and connects with the congregation? Here are five things every sermon needs.


1.  Tension.  Too many times, messages answer questions nobody is asking. Tension creates a necessary sense of excitement or anticipation in a message.  If a skillful preacher takes time during the first five minutes to make me want to know something, the rest of the message will be more effective (we talked about this in yesterday’s email). Tension might be a bad thing in a relationship, but it’s a great thing in a sermon.


2.  A story.  When it comes to communication, nothing is more memorable and effective than a properly told story.  Don’t let facts, stats and bullet points dominate your outline.  If you’re looking for a great model, look no further than Jesus, who told some of the most memorable stories in all of history.


3.  A point.  A topic isn’t the same as a point.  So whether you’re preaching expositorily through a book of the Bible or building a message series, you must communicate a point.  It’s entirely possible your point is getting lost in your points.


4.  A call to action.  What do you want people to DO as a result of listening to this sermon?  This is a question that should be on your mind as you prepare and deliver your message.  It’s not enough to tack on an action step in a left-hand turn conclusion.


5.  The gospel.  The gospel isn’t a specific message you preach on “bring a friend” day; it’s a message that must be woven into the fabric of every message.


Whether you’re preaching on parenting, money, faith, or the Holy Spirit, people need to hear the Gospel over and over again.

P.S. Preaching more doesn’t make you a better preacher.  In fact, it might keep you stuck in a rut.  Take your passion for preaching to the next level with Preaching Rocket, a 12-month practical course in preaching.

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