Guest Post – Simple Sermon Strategies that Work

The preacher or pastor is expected to be skilled in designing anywhere from one to three or more sermons per week. Hopefully, we take the expectation of being experts of sermon design, or “displaying special skill or knowledge derived from training experience” (Merriam-Webster definition) seriously.

When designing a sermon, there are some important aspects to consider.

Structure and Routine

It has been my pleasure to have been allowed to preach since the spring of 1980. Over those years I have designed thousands of sermons. I looked back over some of my sermons from my early years in the ministry and honestly had no clue what the sermon was about or how people sat and listened to it.

In 1985 I was allowed the honor of sitting under a Godly man by the name of Walter Hare who excelled in homiletics. It was under his leadership and mentoring that I learned the art of designing expository sermons. I’ve spent the last 32 years perfecting the art of designing expository sermons.

During this time, I have found some structure and routines that work. I make sure my outline is properly designed each and every time before I begin adding my illustrations and commentary to the sermon. This type of outline does not come without having the proper routine and the proper structure, but it is well worth the effort in learning the art of designing an expository sermon. It works, and I have not deviated from this design for 32 years and counting. (See an example of how I start this here.)

Separated and Refreshed

It is hard to design a sermon when you are being pressed for attention. I have a place where I sit and I do not deviate from sitting in my “spot” to design my sermon. In this “place” I have my laptop, my Bible, my books, and my glasses.

It has also been my experience that there is a point when you have to shut it down and walk off. I was studying just the other night and I realized that I was not thinking clearly and nothing was coming together. It was late and I was tired so I just shut it down until I was refreshed. The man of God that learns to be fresh in designing his sermon will be much better in designing his sermons.

Strategy and Resources

Of course, if you are reading this, you probably use all of the excellent material from WORDsearch and you have an abundant supply of resources. Over the past 32 years I have strategized and tried numerous sermonic resources and commentaries to help me become knowledgeable of my vocation and calling.

During those years I have wasted lots of money buying resources that proved to be of no value. I have hundreds of books in my library and rarely use 3% of them. Over the years I have learned to keep it simple and keep it structured. As I said, I have hundreds of books, maybe closer to a thousand books, but I have my “favorites” and you should have your favorites.

Scriptural and Relevant

In closing, we need to mention that our sermons should be Scriptural. The sermon must be designed and designated to the Scripture. We have not been called to deliver three points and a poem; we have been called to preach the Word of God. I am a Baptist but I do not preach Baptist “stuff.” I preach “thus saith the Lord.” It is our duty to design sermons that are absolutely based upon the Bible and not just the Bible, but from the “text” that we read.

The sermon should be relevant and not just a bunch of lofty lingo that is superficial and worthless. We are preaching to people that are sinners, people that are struggling, and people that are suffering; therefore our sermons should be relevant and useful to the hearer.

You might say, “that was so simple.” If you do I have accomplished my task in writing this blog. It is simple. It is so simple that it works. I now ask you to try it and upon trying it, perfect it, and become and expert at it.

Please feel free to contact me: (If you want the full commentary on the above outline, email me I will send you a free copy.)

God Bless You,

Dr. Donald Cantrell, pastor of Antioch Baptist in Dalton, Georgia

You can find an exclusive sale on Cantrell’s Complete Preaching & Teaching Collection by viewing your homescreen when you open your WORDsearch library.

Please note: The views & opinions expressed in any guest post featured on our site are those of the guest author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions & views of Lifeway Christian Resources.

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