Preaching has the potential to transform lives for eternity. However, audience, context and personal capacity provide limitations upon the method of delivery in which each person preaches any given sermon.

The below recommended method is designed to help developing preachers ensure they have considered the simplest building-blocks for a sermon that is clear, Jesus-focused, Bible-based and actionable. Finally, a simple, clear structure should provide space for the Holy Spirit to transform people directly.

Five building-blocks: Scripture, Statement, Story, Symbol and Step.

Preparing this type of sermon starts with choosing a single scripture as the base for the sermon. Out of this scripture you are encouraged to prayerfully craft a short statement that personally applies a biblical lesson from the chosen scripture. Following this key statement choose a story (preferably a real, personal story from your own life) that illustrates the truth being taught. For those who learn in more concrete ways, it helps to also think of a symbol (e.g. “I am the light of the world”). If time or experience is particularly limited, it’s possible to use either a Story or Symbol rather than both, providing what remains is incredibly simple and aligned with the main message being taught. Finally, close with a simple step of faith in the form of a literal ‘step’ and a prayer. It’s ideal to not just pray yourself, but to encourage those listening to pray themselves.

While the framework can be extended easily, it provides new preachers with foundational elements for an impacting message with tight limitations (attention, time, breadth of audience etc) in mind.

Scripture: Matt 22:37-40
Story: Dating. Whole life re-shaped by your new love
State: A life of loving others starts with loving God with your whole self
Symbol: Wedding band. “One ring to rule them all”.
re-State: A life of loving others starts with loving God with your whole self
Step [Prayer]: With what new part of your life can you love God?

Use the Simple Sermon Template or one of the below alternatives to plan out easy to understand, actionable and short (e.g. less than 12 mins) sermons. As your skills grow, or your context lends itself to change, you can add additional elements according to your gifting (e.g. storytelling, bible teaching) or the audience you are speaking to (youth groups, Sunday services, bible studies etc).

Finding your style

There are many ways to work towards a sermon. Below is a typed template with headings and room for bullet points. But you may find your own style including mind-maps that are both formal or informal/creative.

> Typical, text-based, bullet-point notes.

> Mind-map of your sermon in mid-development. You can use a mind map to formulate options for each element, testing what feels natural to you.

> Creative, hand-written approach to notes. This is a more 'creative', albeit messy, way of figuring out your flow. Note: This is enough content for 35-45mins, not 15mins :)

Working towards your first sermon

1. Bring the sermon guide to watch and listen to Dan/mentor/pastor.

2. Use the guide to write your own message, deliver to Dan/mentor/pastor.

3. Deliver your message from step 2.

Recording your sermons?

For further reading you could check my summary of Dave Adamson's wisdom on Preaching for YouTube.