Wineskins Archive

December 19, 2013

The Write Side: Busy Preacher’s Sermon Outline Guide (Sept-Oct 1997)

Filed under: — @ 11:56 pm and

by Dennis Crawford
September – October, 1997

28Here’s the preacher’s nightmare. It’s 10 o’clock Saturday night. Due to an unusually busy week, an unexpected weekend visit from friends, 36 holes of golf and a bad headache, he hasn’t had a thought about tomorrow morning’s sermon. It looks like one of those Saturday nights. He’ll be up until 3:00 a.m. plagiarizing like a bandit from one of Chuck Swindoll’s books, all the while praying for an attack of appendicitis, or some other acute – yet non-life-threatening – illness that calls for a run to the emergency room.

But the illness doesn’t come. After five hours of cramming, he has something that could be called a sermon, another headache, a bad case of the coffee jitters, and new resolve – next week, no Saturday night special.

After having several Saturday nights in a row like the one described above, I began thinking about writing a busy preacher’s sermon outline book. I imagined a book that would outline a surefire method to quickly produce deep, powerful, enriching, inspiring, engaging and interesting sermons. Well, I think you’ll see that I’ve been doing some heavyduty thinking. One Saturday night between 10:00 and 11:00 I came up with this baby (sermon) below. The next Monday morning, looking over my Saturday night’s labor, I had a flash of insight. That sermon could be a model, a paradigm, for hundreds of sermons. The sermon preparation method that grew from that insight is so easy, I think almost anyone – even preachers with post-graduate degrees – can get the hang of it in a couple weeks.

I am confident that after using my method, preachers everywhere will soon be throwing rocks at Buttrick, Long, Fant and Craddock et al.

As you note the outline please remember, I came up with this sermon in less than an hour!

Title: “Sin: Its Existential Reality in a World of Pluralistic Values and Philosophical Hedonism.”

Introduction: Talk abut the weather, your pets, your children or grandchildren, saving the wetlands in North America, gardening, Monday Night Football, or whatever else is on your mind at the time. Try to use the word “sin” somewhere toward the end of the introduction.

Main points:
I am against sin.
I am really against sin.
I am very much against sin.
No kidding.
I AM REALLY, VERY MUCH AGAINST SIN!! (optional point if you feel the congregation needs it.)

Conclusion: Actually say, “In conclusion.” (This may be said right after point #1 if people begin to nod off, and may be said every three or four minutes after that, as needed.)

Quickly review points 1-3 or 1-4. Then say the word: “Letusstandandsing.”

That’s it. It’s that easy. It’s that simple.

The wonderful thing about this sermon is that it can become an entire series of sermons. Simply change one or two words in the outline and it’s brand new. The possibilities for sermon freshness are endless. A preacher will have no excuse for a poor sermon just because he didn’t start preparation until 10 o’clock Saturday night.

For instance, here’s another outline I came up with in just six minutes:

Title “The Intertwined Existential Relationship Sustainted Between Good and Goodness.”

1) I’m for goodness.
2) I’m really for goodness.
3) etc. etc.

Scary, isn’t it? I know that’s what you’re thinking. It’s really easy. But here’s the best part. I got so excited about this idea that I called the Fang and Claw Publishing Co. to see if they would like to publish a book with the details of my new method. They promptly referred me to a more conservative, and a tiny bit more defensive publisher, The Slashing Bloody Sword with Guts and Stuff Dripping Off Of It Publishing Co., Inc. They also publish a monthly paper, but that’s another story. At any rate, the upshot is this – The Slashing Bloody Sword people are interested in publishing a how to guide and a compilation of my outlines. The working title is: I’m Against (Fill in The Blank) Quickie Sermon Outline Book For Busy – Or Lazy – Preachers. If things go as planned, the book should be out next spring.

Preachers, I’m sure you can see I’m onto something. But I don’t want to be selfish, or commercial. Even though many preachers will soon be shelling out $29.95 for my book, I’ve shared this prepublication article with you so that you can use my method next Saturday night. I know you’ll get plenty of comments on your sermon.Wineskins Magazine

Dennis Crawford

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