On the surface, we don’t know much about you. We don’t know if or where you went to seminary. We don’t even know where you’re located in the world or what your church’s demographics look like. We can’t say with certainty whether your Baptist, Pentecostal, Methodist, Anglican, some other denomination, or no denomination at all.
After all that, it might seem like we don’t know much, but we do know something very important about you: Every weekend, you’re trying your hardest to preach the Word of God with boldness.
You’re praying that God gives you effective words and that His Spirit would prepare the hearts of your listeners. You yearn for your congregation to be convicted and comforted by the Word of God every single Sunday.
Whether you’re new to preaching or have been doing it for years, you have a God-given burden for the souls of your hearers. And, along with that, you have some niggling concerns about whether or not your church family is comprehending and practicing what you’re preaching.
This may not be what you want to hear, but sermon outlines are your best friend for combatting these concerns. Having the right framework for organizing your thoughts and communicating your message can make the difference between confusion and conviction.
Besides helping you speak your messages more clearly, outlines can also save you a TON of time when it comes to researching Bible passages and collecting illustrations.
That’s why we’ve embedded 6 different pre-built sermon outlines into Sermonary, our word processor, developed specifically for writing sermons.
Of course, once you’ve selected the right outline, the battle has just started. You’ll still have to make sure that you allow adequate time to develop your ideas, research, and practice presenting your sermon.
That’s why we created this free PDF to walk you through the process of researching, planning, and presenting your sermon in just one week!
No matter what type of message you find yourself needing to preach this week, we think one of these outlines can be your perfect first step.
Corvettes, apple pie, and three-point sermons. What do these things have in common? They’re classics—loved and easily recognized by many. In fact, this type of sermon is so ubiquitous that you’re probably wondering why we’ve bothered to include it at all.
Our reasons are twofold: First, we provide this template in Sermonary because most pastors will use it again and again. Second, although we acknowledge that it’s not the perfect outline format for every subject or preaching style, its advantages—mainly, that it’s straightforward to write and easy for people to follow—are worthy of consideration.
The three-point outline is similar to the essays you wrote in high school or college—you introduce a topic, expound on three points relating to it, then conclude by recapping what you’ve discussed.
As you’re plotting a three-point sermon, you can use this standard structure or tweak it to make it your own. In fact, many of the sermon outlines we’ve included in this post are fresh takes on the classic three-point sermon. For example, if you’re teaching your congregation about a certain Biblical concept, you can use the following format:
See what we did there? We sneakily added in a fourth point! This highlights another advantage of using this method: it’s flexible. You can have two to four main points in one sermon without changing the structure of your outline.
However, if you find that you need more than four points or that you’re running out of time to cover all of them, consider creating a sermon series on your topic and making each point the focus of an entire message.
If you’re trying to encourage your audience to change their thinking or take an action relating to a particular topic, you might want to tweak your outline so that you strike a mildly persuasive tone. In that case, you can use the following three-point sermon format:
a. Grab their attention
Tip: It might be helpful to end your introduction by stating the main question you’ll be answering with your sermon
Tip: In this point and the points that follow, it’s often a helpful memory aid for your listeners if you create a “mini” three-point structure within each of your main points. For example, if you’re talking about idolatry, you could discuss, “The idol of productivity,” “The idol of approval”, and “The idol of financial prosperity.” Then, in your next main points, you can flip each of these mini points on its head, discussing how Christians don’t have to do anything to earn grace or keep God’s approval, and that He offers a life that’s much more fulfilling than that of chasing anything this world has to offer.
Now that you’ve contrasted what God says with what the world says, it’s time to put your teaching in practical terms.
You can share a story about someone who lives or lived the principles you’ve discussed, encourage people to pinpoint their own wrong thinking or beliefs, or give specific action steps that people could take to apply these principles in their lives (e.g. “Next time I’m unhappy with my reflection in the mirror, I’ll remind myself that I belong to God, and I’m not a slave to the idol of other people’s approval!”)
Here, you’ll recap your main points in a succinct manner. Then, you can end your sermon with a specific challenge for people to apply during the week.
The three-point structure is so familiar that people are able to anticipate and understand where you’re headed. In other words, familiarity with the structure creates clarity.
However, as you’ve probably realized, the three-point sermon has limitations. The main issue? If you aren’t careful, it can be monotonous and predictable.
Sure, you can use this format when talking about any subject, but what about the things you talk about year after year, like Christmas and Easter?
When you’re a new pastor, bringing a fresh approach and ideas to the table might be no problem, but as you settle into preaching, it can start to feel like you’re teaching the same lesson over and over again—and if you’re feeling that way, chances are the people sitting in your sanctuary are, too.
You can try to solve this problem by using flashier technology or finding better and better stories to use as examples… Or, for more effective results, you can change up your presentation method by exploring a different preaching framework.
In his book, Communicating for a Change, Pastor Andy Stanley talks about using this “map” as a way to powerfully communicate a message. You can see him put this outlining method to good use in examples like Winning and Born to Run.
The Me-We-God-You-We Method has two main facets: First, it’s designed to help you communicate one big idea from a particular passage of Scripture. Second, it’s conversational, meaning that you’re connecting with your audience and engage with them in the way you would if you were talking one-on-one.
It works for a variety of topics and is especially handy in helping ensure your sermon doesn’t take on a holier-than-thou tone since you start by pinpointing your own struggles.
Here’s how you can use the Me-We-God-You-We method for your own sermons:
Have you ever heard a message that forever changed the way you viewed a certain passage of Scripture? Or, have you ever walked away from a sermon thinking, “Wow, I understand what the Bible is saying so much more clearly now!” If so, chances are you were listening to what we call a “Verse-by-Verse Running Commentary,” sometimes called an expository or textual sermon.
The running commentary format is an amazing way to explore a passage in depth. Preaching in this style allows you to delve into the Biblical context, history, culture, and difficult-to-discern meanings found within your text. It’s an amazing way to bring the Bible to life for your congregation, but it comes with a huge caveat: If not done well, a running commentary can be more confusing than helpful. That’s why it’s crucial to understand how to preach effectively in the expository style.
Follow these steps to construct your sermon outline:
Now that you see how much research and background knowledge goes into crafting a textual sermon, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed. Don’t! We’ve created a FREE PDF that will help you effectively manage your time so that you’ll be fully prepared to preach each Sunday. Get your free download here.
There’s a lot of happy themes in the Bible: peace, hope, joy, and love, just to name a few! However, eventually, every pastor is compelled to teach about topics that other people might not agree with, like the inerrancy of the Bible or the church’s stance on specific moral issues.
When the time comes to preach apologetics from the pulpit, you’ll want to make sure that your teaching is presented in a way that your congregation can understand and re-state when having discussions with unbelievers or fighting their own doubts.
This outline, which is one of the pre-built outlines provided Sermonary, will walk you through the steps of crafting a tenable but uplifting message to share with your church.
If you’re a children’s pastor or teacher, this outline is a godsend. Even if you’re not, a children’s sermon outline (called “The Children’s Leader” inside Sermonary) could come in handy in several situations, for example:
Developed with children’s church leaders in mind, this format centers around mixing things up and giving kids different reminders of what you’re teaching that day.
Using this method for crafting a lesson will help you share messages that kids look forward to hearing every Sunday—plus, they’ll have an easier time understanding and remembering what you taught.
Sound good? You can sign up for a free trial of our beautiful drag-and-drop interface that makes crafting children’s lessons and sermons a breeze. Or, you can follow this outline, which is a variation on the one we include in each and every subscription to Sermonary. The results will speak for themselves!
If you’re in youth ministry, you don’t need us to tell you teaching teens is a different beast than teaching adults or children.
Teens are in that wonderful in-between spot. They’re capable of understanding many of the deep truths of God’s Word, so you don’t have to talk down to them or shy away from difficult subjects. However, when it’s time for the lesson, you’ve probably found that they’re still like small children in a lot of ways—needing something to capture their attention before they start talking about memes or standing on their heads.
That’s why we created this template specifically for youth pastors and leaders who want to create messages that will resonate with their students.
It’s a variation on some of the other sermon outline types already included in this guide, but we’ve tweaked it to account for short attention spans and rooms that can get crazy fast.
In short, we know you need a game plan that will allow you to keep the main things the main things while you preach for life change. If you’re using Sermonary (and if you’re not, why aren’t you?!), you can find this template, called “The Youth Pastor” in our pre-built template section.
We like to think of this outline in terms of the 5 C’s.
Here they are:
We hope you enjoy using these sermon outlines, and that you’ve found the perfect one for your next message!
Of course, having the perfect outline for your topic isn’t the only component of getting it done. You’ll also need to get it written, and that requires breaking this important task into manageable, smaller tasks.
That’s why we created this free PDF guide to crafting a sermon in 7 days. Download your free copy today!