Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Church Sermons- 3 Effortless Research Tips

Sermons have the ability to change lives. For those people that hear your message at the right time and place, it can literally change the course of their very decision making. So how do you construct a sermon? It can be quite an overwhelming job, especially if you've never written one before. Where do you begin? What are you going to talk about? What passages of scripture do you use? How do you tie everything up in a neat little bow? Can you even do that? After all, a lot of scripture is open to interpretation. Well, if you're wracking your brain trying to write that sermon, these 3 effortless sermon research tips should help. At the top of the list of things to do is to make sure that you have a main passage of scripture that you want to preach off of. A lot of times, this will lock you into a subject. For example, if you're preaching on Daniel in the lion's den, you're not going to stray and start talking about the transfiguration of Jesus. Having specific bible scripture in mind will make the sermon itself go a lot smoother and even, in some cases, write itself. You will be surprised how quickly research will flow when you have a topic and start connecting chapter and verse as you research. Another thing you want to do is start the sermon off with a related personal story. Try to make it a humorous one if you can. The reason for this is because you don't want the congregation falling asleep on you. If you dive right into the theological stuff right off the bat, you're going to lose a lot of your congregation before you even reach the second paragraph. Adding the human element will greatly help in keeping the parishioners interested. If you want to see an example of this, watch Joel Olsteen on Christian television. He starts off each message with a joke and gets his congregation to laugh. I think this also gives him a down to earth character and his people view him as being at their level, and they in turn can relate to him and receive the message he is giving. Finally, you want to keep your sermon brief. A clever minister used to say, if you can't get your point across in less than 10 minutes, then it wasn't worth getting across in the first place. One way to keep your sermon brief is to make a list of bullet points that you want to cover in the sermon itself. Try to keep them to 3 or 4 points in total. If you limit each one to about 3 minutes talking time, you should have no problem keeping your sermon to around 10 minutes. Some church denominations are accustomed to longer messages, and if you are a pastor from those denominations, you already know who you are. It should be prudent to note that the attention span for an adult is between 20-25 minutes so after this point, even with longer messages, your members have reached their maximum capacity to absorb your message. There are other things you can do to improve your sermon, but we'll cover those in future articles. In the meantime, if you follow the tips I've outlined above, getting a main passage of scripture, starting off with a personal story, and keeping the sermon to about 10 minutes, you will find that your sermon will go over a lot better with the congregation and they won't end up falling asleep on you or leaving service early.

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