We all know the importance of preaching a compelling sermon, one that encourages people to take action.
But what happens when people walk away from your sermon and don’t know how to take action?
It’s important for sermons to be compelling and engaging, but you can’t stop there. In order to write a more practical sermon, ask yourself these seven questions.
Identify the overarching problem the passage is addressing. Study the passage, observing dialogue, key words and phrases, and questions. Recurring words and themes can point you toward the main point of the passage.
As you study the text, take notes. Use a tool like Sermonary to keep those notes organized for future reference.
Once you’ve identified the main themes and overarching problem the passage is addressing, it’s time to identify the “why.” If the problem isn’t solved, what will the consequences be?
For example, if an addiction isn’t addressed, someone will not experience freedom. If someone isn’t saved, they won’t experience eternal life with Christ. Identify the main problem, then identify why the problem needs to be solved.
Now that you’ve identified the problem and the reason the problem needs to be solved, figure out the solution to the problem. Solutions could include prayer, fasting, counseling, mentorship, or discipleship.
If you can’t identify the solution to the problem, seek other Scripture passages on the same topic, research the topic, or talk to other trusted Christian leaders.
This is one reason pastors should invest in personal development. Each pastor should diligently seek Biblical solutions in his or her own life in order to better lead people to Biblical solutions in their lives.
Preaching a practical action step is the difference between sharing the importance of healthy eating and giving someone a healthy recipe to follow. You’ve identified the solution to the problem – now identify what action individuals need to take personally to solve the problem.
Action steps include seeking accountability, finding help, blocking out an hour for prayer, setting aside a day to fast, or asking someone to be your mentor. Give your congregation a recipe to solve the problem.
Does your church really want to reach the lost and change the world? Consider ways your church can take action to solve the problem. This could involve a partnership with another ministry, a food drive for a local food bank, or a community event where you show God’s love and share the Gospel message.
Imagine what a person’s life will look like after they solve this problem. Will they have more wisdom? Increased fruit of the Spirit in their life? Deeper intimacy with the Lord?
Consider this on a larger scale as well. Imagine a world where the problem you identified no longer exists. What does that world look like? Does the church have greater influence? What would be different?
The final question to ask to write a practical sermon is “what’s at stake?” If there’s nothing at stake, there’s no reason to solve the problem. Imagine a world, or an individual’s life, where this problem remains unsolved. What would that look like?
For example, if someone continues to live in fear, they’re missing the depth and blessings of freedom. If someone never accepts Christ, they miss both the fullness of life in Christ on earth, as well as Eternal Life with Christ in Heaven.
As you ask yourself these questions, take notes on your thoughts, observations, and conclusions. Use a tool like Sermonary to keep all your notes in the same place, well-organized, easy to access later.