We are working on our ten-part series on How to Prepare a Sermon. We’ve already given you all ten steps of sermon preparation, and Part 1, Praying about your Sermon; Part 2,Textual vs. Topical; Part 3,Study the Passage; Part 4, Read the Commentaries; Part 5, Arrive at the Proposition; Part 6, Develop the Mains; Part 7, Provide Supporting Material, and Part 8, Write the Conclusion, Part 9, Write The Introduction.
CREATE THE TITLE
Finally, you can choose the title. The only point of the title is to advertise and promote the sermon and let people know in a very brief way what it is about. If you choose your title too early, you may find yourself preaching to the title, rather than the text. Don’t confuse the two.
The Title that you choose can simply be descriptive, like the one I heard this weekend for Sanctity of Human Life Sunday: “The Privilege and Responsibility of Being Human” by Dr. John Crocker at Crossroads Church in Albert Lea, MN.
It could be a portion of Scripture, like “Songs in the Night”, the famous sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon of the London Tabernacle. The phrase “songs in the night” is from the Book of Psalms.
The Title could be a very directive title, “How to be the Spiritual Leader of your Home“, a message which I taught a while back, mainly to fathers, but also to single moms.
USE THE TITLE
Once you have taken the time to write the sermon, you want people to come and listen to it!
So make sure you spread the title of your sermon far and wide so that everyone knows what you will be teaching on. This is your chance to use the title of the sermon to encourage people to come and hear the Word of God being taught.
What are some ways to do that?
- Whenever I am teaching in a series, I always put in a little teaser near the end of my sermon, about what I will be teaching in the next one. That way people can see how the series is tied together, and will keep coming back, it is hoped.
- Also, list next week’s sermon in this week’s bulletin.
- If your church advertises in the newspaper, list your weekly sermon title in there. Many people out there do not want to come to a strange new church unless they have at least some idea of what it is all about. For example, if your sermon title is on parenting, “How to be a great Dad”, that is one thing. If the title, on the other hand, says something like, “How to pick up snakes during worship”, that would tell them something else.
DON’T PREACH TO THE TITLE
Your job is to preach to the Biblical text, not the Title. The only purpose of the Title is to let the people know what you will be speaking about. It is just there to advertise. Don’t get distracted by it; stay focused on the Biblical text.
Well, there you have it. That is the last of this ten-part series on How to Prepare a Sermon. I hope you enjoy it, and find it useful, as you teach God’s Holy Word!
For great preaching,
Dr. Bill Miller