Keys to useable sermon outlines
Perhaps I should emphasize more the word “Useable” in creating a useable sermon outline. Many preachers use sermon outlines, but a lot of times they work against the preacher more than for him. Really they are not useable sermon outlines. This article will present some thoughts on the subject.
Offsite: How to write a sermon outline
(1) A Sermon Outline is a Guide, nothing more.
Here we need to be careful, but a sermon outline needs to be “put in its place”. It is a help, or at least should be. One point here is that depending on the age/eye sight of the preacher, it should be readable, medium or large print. I am against preachers writing a sermon and then reading it verbatim. It should help you remember to present a sequence of ideas and verses, but it should not overwhelm the preacher. It is like an athlete and his shoes. Without shoes, a runner or football player would have extreme problems, but his shoes are just a help for him to do what he is doing.
On the one hand, preachers should not “be bound” to a sermon outline. For example, by this I mean that when a preacher makes a point from his outline and the people look puzzled, he needs to stop the outline and explain the point more. If he recognizes something unbiblical, illogical, or not clear, he should feel free to break with the outline and go off the outline. Equally he may misjudge the time of a sermon, and his comfortable time limit is surpassed before the sermon outline is complete, so he should break and end the sermon.
Let me also make the point here that preaching is “feeding sheep” in a spiritual sense. This process is difficult, because the sheep have certain universal needs, but in every case, the individual sheep have individual needs. Being a pastor and preaching to a group has to take into consideration that element, and the wise and effective pastor MUST discern these individual problems and needs “as we go along.” By that I mean that sometimes God will reveal to you a special need, say for example when some event happens (think 9-11) and your sermon for Sunday morning maybe is going to be set aside and you must deal with things that are taking over people’s minds instead.
The sermon outline is a help, and when it stops being a help, the preacher needs to revamp completely his preparation and his sermon notes.
Another issue here is handwriting sermon outlines. If you cannot easily read the sermon notes/outline, then get a computer and print them.
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