I can only remember a handful of messages that have been preached by some great communicators. Why is that? 15 hours of prep per message, a great catch phrase and a slick graphic means this stuff should stick. Right? One thing that guys like Levi Lusko have mastered is creating a sermon series. After 19 years of public ministry, with a large portion of that time doing public speaking to groups of 30 up to 3000, I learned a few tricks to keep my material fresh week after week through series creation. I want to share with you the EASY way to write a sermon series that people will remember. It will free up your time and keep your audience engaged week after week. Here ar3 thoughts and 5 questions that answering honestly will get you pointed in the right direction.
- Content – If you are writing a series, make sure to write something that you can continue. Keep in mind that most sermons you will preach will be better off as a sermon series anyways. We try to get so much information into our messages and forget that the average listener just cannot digest it. If you can’t say it in 25 minutes it is either not worth saying or should be saved for a class room. We assume that because we (sermon junkies) think it’s the right amount of content for us, that it’s good for everyone else too.
- Inspiration & Topic – There are two great ways to make sure that you are on the right track with your sermon series. Talent (what God gifted you with) and Gift (something God whispered to you). I have had both, sometimes God tells you what the people need and other times you will be able to see what the people need. The temptation is to just preach what you know the most about, that’s taking the easy way out. Get your direction and inspiration from heaven then pray and study like a champ. I even remember a season where God spoke in a weekly dream. So don’t be too quick to dismiss the crazy ways God speaks to you, just line it up with scripture when you wake up.
- White board – Buy a white board! Sketch out your series and important pieces of information you come up with while you study. Seeing things in your own hand writing will help you connect the dots.
Here are some great questions to ask yourself in the process of series writing:
- Does it sound like Jesus would say it? Often in the theology world we want to sound smart, like a theological giant. The reality is, for many of our listeners, they are just looking for hope. People come to church for many reasons, but inside all of us there is a desire to know that our God left the door open to a new and better world. Make sure that Jesus comes through clearly. Your listeners can turn on the news to be depressed, meeting the real Jesus should encourage them.
- Does your talk have a two fold effect on people? Does the spiritual and practical life of the listener get challenged from the message? Do they want to become more like Jesus and therefore a better person or do they stay static or another week?
- Does your first message lead into the next message? I have heard a lot of preaching in series that made no sense one message to the next. Connect the dots from week one through the rest of the weeks. Your series should tell a story like a chapter book, make sure to plan on strong weekly conclusions but leave a tension for next week.
- Do you use solid recaps? Help people out. Some folks missed your last two talks in the series (most people only attend church a few times a month), and these fine people need a reminder of what you have been talking about. Just because you think and breathe this stuff doesn’t mean that everyone else does!
- Did your audience meet with God? Think about when you have gone to church and either left feeling beat up or like you just wasted your time. Make sure that your material and conclusion calls out the best in us. We want to take on the world, we want to know how and we want to know that God is with us. This sounds a lot like numbers 1 and 2, that’s because it is that important!
Hopefully this helps!