Today's Devotional Insight...
Why I Stopped Outlining Sermons
If there is anything that is drilled into all budding preachers, it is the importance of developing the sermon outline. The outline must preferably have three major points with one overriding theme. There ought to be an illustration and application for each point. There are, of course, the introduction with its enticing hook and the conclusion that leads to conviction and action. But above all, develop the outline.
When I converted to expository preaching, I remained devoted to the outline. Previously my preaching style had been the platform method. The Scripture might set up the topic for me, but I then developed my main points and argument through whatever means. Perhaps it was a book I was reading; perhaps I drew from ideas circling about in entertainment. I might mine other Scripture for ideas: “Where else can I find something on prayer?” By whatever means, I diligently worked on building an outline. When I moved to expository preaching, the outline approach still directed me. Now my concern was outlining the Scripture text. The intent was to understand the text, but also to develop a message that could be easily followed by my congregation. Three points was always the goal. If they could begin with the same letter, then all the better.
And then the day came that I let the outline go. Well, almost. I use the same outline for every sermon: Introduction, Text, Lessons. My focus in preparation is exegeting the text. Even then I resist the urge to develop an outline. I will scan the passage, looking for key words and phrases. I will try to pick up on the flow of the narrative or argument, then move through studying verse by verse. But still, I shy away from forming an outline.
What is my problem with outlines?
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Today’s Pastoral Resource...
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