How to Write Sermon Outlines

by Jane Rodda

As a pastor, your most important duty is delivering a sermon, and this responsibility should not be taken lightly. A well-crafted, properly worded sermon is the result of hours of prayer, study, writing and revision. A strong sermon outline is a crucial step that will help you clearly and effectively communicate the word of God to your congregation.

Determine the main message. If someone only remembered one thing from your sermon, what would you want that to be? Look over the scripture passage that you have been studying and determine the main point. Everything else that you discuss should relate back to this overall theme.

Determine the sub points. As you study the passage, prayerfully consider the supporting points to your main theme. For example, if your main message is to share your faith with others, a supporting point could be to share your faith in the face of ridicule. Be sure to have scriptures that support each point. Aim to keep the amount of sub points to around three; otherwise your congregation could be overwhelmed.

Insert illustrations and stories. Illustrations and stories are important to help bring your sermon into your present day context. Jesus was always using parables and metaphors to convey his message, and you can do the same. Use personal experiences, popular topics of the day, or even examples from music or movies.

Write a conclusion. For some pastors, the most difficult part of a sermon is knowing when to wrap it up. Having a specific concluding thought will help bring the message to an end. Re-state the main message and give your congregation a relevant application and specific actions to take.

Tip

  • Your particular preference will determine how much or how little you actually write. Some pastors write out the whole sermon word for word, while others have a main message, some scriptures and one or two words for each sub point.

About the Author

Jane Rodda has been a writer since 2004, with articles featured in "Gameday Magazine" and "Urban Family Magazine." She is also the social media director and lead copywriter for a piano instruction website. Rodda holds a Bachelor of Arts in liberal studies with a concentration in psychology from Point Loma Nazarene University.

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