In a recent edition of his Ministry Toolbox newsletter, Rick Warren says that too many sermon outlines, “don’t say much of anything to anyone. You can avoid this pitfall by taking a few simple steps toward creating points that make a point.

“First, use the biblical application as the points of your sermon. In other words, start with your application, and show how the Scripture illustrates it. Your sermon point should be a present tense application statement followed by the biblical text.

“Second, put a verb in every one of your sermon points. The easiest way to help people be doers of the Word is to put a verb in the point. It turns the biblical truth into action steps.

“Third, put ‘Jesus’ or ‘God’ into each of your points. Frankly, I’m very concerned about pastors who try to build seeker-sensitive sermons by eliminating ‘God’ and ‘Jesus’ from the message. In fact, I think the best sermons put ‘God’ or ‘Jesus’ right into the application points. When you stand to preach, you’re not just giving a moralistic pep talk. You want to change lives, and the power for changed lives comes only from God.

“Fourth, personalize your sermon points by using personal pronouns. I rarely use the word ‘we’ in an application or an outline because it weakens the application. In other words, say, ‘Jesus Christ came for me. Jesus Christ died for me. Jesus Christ is coming again for me.’”

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About The Author

Michael Duduit is the founding publisher and editor of Preaching magazine. He is also the founding Dean of the new College of Christian Studies and Professor of Christian Ministry at Anderson University in Anderson, South Carolina. Michael is author and editor of several books, including the Handbook of Contemporary Preaching (Broadman & Holman Press), Joy in Ministry (Baker Books), Preaching With Power (Baker) and Communicate With Power (Baker). From 1996 until 2000 he served as editor of the Abingdon Preaching Annual series. His email newsletter, PreachingNow, is read each week by more than 40,000 pastors and church leaders in the U.S. and around the world. He is founder and director of the National Conference on Preaching and the International Congress on Preaching, which has been held in 1997 at Westminster Chapel in London, 2002 at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and 2007at Cambridge. He has been a pastor and associate pastor, has served a number of churches as interim pastor, and speaks regularly for churches, colleges and conferences.

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