As a blogger, I have found a new passion for writing. I have found my own type of writing, explored new mediums which has brought about other passions for sharing my messages, and even challenged myself to write 70 page eBooks.
Yet, for every challenge that the blogging process brings, writing a sermon can be just as hard. I know this because I did youth ministry for eight years and while the Internet is a tough critic, they have nothing on the ADHD attention spans of middle schoolers and the “need to be cool” critics of high school. That is a whole different audience that requires a unique set of skills to communicate your message.
I want to help you craft a better one.
I certainly am no Michael Hyatt when it comes to presentations, I definitely do not have the charisma of an Andy Stanley, nor am I as quick on my feet as Francis Chan. But in my time of doing youth ministry, I have picked up a thing or two in writing messages for my teens that I thought I would share. Then you can compare them to the infographic below as well as with what you do personally.
- Know Your Audience
This is as simple as “do you have them for 20 minutes” and “can they handle a five point sermon” to more complex questions such as “do they have the capacity for deep theological content” and “can they be spiritually challenged?” This requires relationships and time, so have a couple of potlucks with the congregation, get to know your leadership (who should have a pulse of the congregation too), and open up your schedule for coffee with people.
- What Are You Trying To Sell Here?
I have found with blogging that a clear message is important. But with a blog, you are not directly engaging with people immediately. You can craft what you want to say, reread it, allow others to go over it too, and then publish it. Preaching is a little different as your audience is live. Get to the point, make it crystal clear what you are saying, reiterate it, use stories that are engaging and creative, but not going to overpower the message, and end it well.
- Use Your Resources
I was the worst at coming up with good resources and analogies. I could find a sermon in almost anything I watched or experienced, but put Scripture in front of me and I was stumped. So when I would do my sermon prep, knowing what the message’s Scripture was focused on, I would use other resources with commentaries, books, and even trusted websites. I’m not a huge fan of using premade curriculum, but even that has some things you can draw from.
- Where Is The Bible People?
I’m not going to say that every sermon needs an alter call (though I’m not opposed to them either), you do need to have the Gospel through Scripture present. Push Bible verses first and foremost, only then surrounding it with stories. You can be topical and still be based in the Bible.
- Use Evernote
Here is my little tech tip in all of this. Evernote was SOOOO helpful in crafting what I had to say. Whether through my phone, laptop or tablet, I was writing down notes as I found them, saving webpage illustrations to my notebooks, and eventually just preaching from it. Such a fabulous piece of software!
So take that, take your own message process you do, and then compare it to the infographic below by The Rocket Company.