There have been millions (even billions) of sermons preached over the course of time. Perhaps some are more memorable than others. With billions of sermons out there, why is it a weekly battle to decide on the sermon theme for Sunday? How would you define a great sermon? How would you elevate your sermon from good to great? This article answers these questions and we also provide a curated list of the top 50 sermon themes of all time and how to create them!
What Makes a Great Sermon?
Think about sermons you’ve listened to in the past that how they have impacted you. What made that sermon memorable?
It’s important to understand what makes a sermon ‘good’ because, as you will discover by searching Google, there are a number of differing opinions on what a sermon focus should be, how to deliver a sermon, how to construct a sermon, etc. The goal here is to simplify the understanding of a ‘good’ sermon and how you can apply it this coming Sunday.
We have narrowed down our research into 5 key elements of a “Great Sermon.”
- The message should arise naturally from the Biblical text.
This is probably one of the most fundamental disciplines that need to be addressed. Beware of messages that are based on opinion or personal revelation. Our responsibility is to organize all of the information and be able to clearly identify and communicate the key point of the passage.
- It is well organized, easy to follow, with one clearly communicated main point.
You may not necessarily have to limit it to one main point, but the idea here is to leave your audience wanting more after the sermon rather than feeling overwhelmed.
- The sermon efficiently uses storytelling and analogies to emphasize the main point.
Stories are useful to paint relevant images in the mind of your audience and help them relate to the point you are making. Jesus spoke in parables that were relevant to the listeners at the time so they would have the opportunity to understand what he is referring to.
- Meets the/a need of the congregation.
You are reading this article because you want your sermons to have some type of impact on someone’s life.
- Motivates hearers to take action.
Having a call to action at the end of the sermon is a simple way to help your listeners remember what they learned. By applying the lesson throughout the week, the hope is that the message will have a long-term effect helps them grow closer to God.
How do you decide what to preach on?
There’s a lot of information and key points in the Bible that you could preach on. The question is, how do you go about deciding what to preach about? And not only that, but you have to preach next week and the following week for as long as you are preaching. This could be a daunting task, but there are many creative ways to purposefully plan what your sermon themes will be. First off, there’s no right or wrong way to decide what your next sermon will be about. Secondly, you are not alone in making this decision, there are 3 perspectives you should consider before making this decision. The first perspective is from God, take time to hear from Him about what He would like your congregation to hear. God knows exactly what sermon would impact your hearers, so consult with Him before jumping in. The second perspective is from your congregation. Good shepherds, like Jesus, know the needs of their flock and what issues need to be addressed. This can also be instilled from God. He has a way of making it apparent that you should preach about something specific or regarding a specific event, perhaps. The third perspective comes from your personal walk with God. When you are walking closely with God, He will bring things to your attention through your relationship with Him. If you are struggling with something, it’s very likely that other people could be struggling with something similar, as well. Ultimately, the best way to decide what to preach on is to hear from God, He puts things on our hearts to preach about if we take the time to listen. Then we have to do our part by being obedient to what He puts on our hearts.
How do you build a sermon outline?
Once you’ve understood what a great sermon consists of, you’ve heard from God what you should preach on, now all you need to do is put it all together. Great! Where do you start?
When you think about a basic sermon outline, think about a well-written article: you have an Introduction, a Main Point, the Body, and a Conclusion. Now, simply imagine doing the same with the Bible as your reference. First, produce your attention-grabbing introductory paragraph. This could consist of a personal story, analogy, current event, etc. that relates to the main point of your sermon and brings in a visual element. Then state the main point that you are wanting to make and why it’s important or relevant. What problems arise with this topic? Why is this topic a problem? How do you resolve those problems? The body paragraphs should be built with Scriptures, stories, analogies, questions, and anything that would support the main point. Finally, recap all of your points in the conclusion and refer back to the main point while providing a call-to-action element. A good practice is finding a way to end your sermon by challenging your hearers to apply the main point you just talked about. You want them to continue thinking about the message long after the service is over.
Here are some simple, creative, and easy-to-remember outlines that you could apply immediately to your next sermon.
This article is from Pastors.com
Adrian Rogers outlined sermons using four phrases:
Hey You! (Get the audience’s attention)
Look! (Examine the Scriptures)
See! (Explain the passage)
Do! (Make application)
Andy Stanley is famous for one-point preaching, but really breaks his messages into five movements:
Me (How do I struggle with this?)
We (How do we all struggle with this?)
God (What does the Bible say about this?)
You (What should you do about this?)
We (How can we all live this out together?)
Another well-known system is:
Hook (Get attention)
Book (Examine the Word)
Look (Expound the passage)
Took (Make an appeal)
Top 50 Sermon Themes of All Time
- Sermons on Love of God
John 3:16, 1 John 4:7-12, 1 John 5:1-5, Romans 8:38-39, Romans 5:8, 2 Chronicles 9:8, Deuteronomy 7:9
- Sermons on the Greatness of God
Genesis 1, 1 Peter 1:20, Romans 8:38-39, Romans 1:20, John 17:5, John 17:24, Isaiah 55:9, Isaiah 40:28, Psalm 90:2, Psalm 19:1
- Sermons on Peace
Psalm 46:10, Psalm 122:6-7, John 14:27, Philippians 4:8, 2 Thessalonians 3:16, John 16:33, Romans 12:18, Hebrews 12:14, Proverbs 16:7, Galatians 5:22, Romans 14:19
- Sermons on the Strength of God
Psalm 27:1, Psalm 73:26, Psalm 16:8, Nahum 1:7, Isaiah 41:10, Philippians 4:13, Isaiah 40:29, Psalm 119:28
- Sermons on Prayer
Philippians 4:6-7, Matthew 26:36-46, 1 John 5:14, Matthew 6:9-13, Matthew 7:7, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, Luke 11:1-4, 2 Chronicles 7:14
- Sermons on Creation
Jeremiah 51:15, Genesis 1:1, Isaiah 64:8, Luke 1:37, Psalm 8:3, 1 Corinthians 8:6,
- Sermons on Hope
1 Timothy 4:10, Psalm 147:11, Jeremiah 29:11, Romans 15:13
- Sermons on the Crucifixion of Christ
John 20:25, Romans 8:39, John 19:30, John 15:13, Romans 10:9, Romans 5:8, 1 Peter 2:24, Luke 23:46
- Sermons on Satan
Revelation 12:9-10, Ephesians 6:11-12, 1 Peter 5:8, 1 John 3:8, 2 Corinthians 11:3, 2 Corinthians 11:14, John 10:10
- Sermons on Marriage
Ephesians 5:22-28, Mark 10:7-9, 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, Ecclesiastes 4:12, Hebrews 13:4, Genesis 2:24, 1 Peter 3:1-5
- Sovereignty of God
Psalm 91:9-10, Job 38, Colossians 1:16, 1 Chronicles 29:11, Isaiah 45:7, Psalm 147:4-5
- Sermons on The Resurrection
Romans 8:39, Matthew 26:36-36, Matthew 28:6, 1 Peter 1:3, 1 Corinthians 15:55
- Sermons on the Holy Spirit
John 8:36, Acts 2:3-4, Titus 3:5b-6, John 3:6-8, Ephesians 5:18, 2 Timothy 1:7
- Sermons on Spiritual Warfare
Matthew 5:30, Ephesians 6:12, Ephesians 6:16, Hebrews 4:12
- Sermons on Being a Godly Father
Genesis 1:26-5:5 (Adam), Genesis 5-10 (Noah), Genesis 11-25 (Abraham), Genesis 17, 21-22, 24-28, 31, 35 (Isaac), Genesis 25-37, 42, 45-49 (Jacob), Exodus (Moses), 1 Samuel 16 – 1 Kings 2 (King David), Matthew 1:16-2:23 (Joseph)
- Sermons on Being a Godly Mother
Genesis 1-4 (Eve), Genesis 12-23 (Sarah), Genesis 26-27 (Rebekah), Genesis 29-35 (Rachel), Exodus 1-2 (Jochebed), Ruth 1-4 (Naomi), 1 Samuel 1-2 (Hannah), Luke 1-2 (Mary)
- Sermons on Women of the Bible
Esther 1-8 (Esther), 1 Samuel 1 (Hannah), Joshua 2:8-15 (Rahab),
- Sermons on Love
1 Corinthians 13:4-8, John 15:13, Matthew 22:37-39, 1 John 3:1, Mark 10:7-8
- Sermons on New Beginnings
2 Corinthians 5:17, Acts 3:19-21, Ezekiel 36:24-28, Revelation 21:1-8, Isaiah 43:1-28
- Sermons on New Birth
John 3:1-7, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Romans 6:1-11, Galatians 5:19-26
- Sermons on Great Bible Characters
Exodus 3:10-22 (Moses), Genesis 37 (Joseph), 1 Samuel 17 (David), Book of Daniel (Daniel), Genesis 17 (Abraham)
- Sermons on the Christmas Story and Incarnation
1 John 3:1, John 1:4, Matthew 2, Luke 1: 26-38, Luke 2:1-21
- Sermons on Thankfulness and Thanksgiving
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, Matthew 6:25-34, Ephesians 3:20-21, Philippians 4:4-7
- Sermons on Direction in Life
Hosea 14:9, Proverbs 3:5-6, Proverbs 16:9, Psalm 37:23-24, Psalm 23:3, John 14:6
- Sermons on Faith
Matthew 18:3, Hebrews 11, Mark 11:22-24, James 2:14-26, 2 Corinthians 5:7
- Sermons on God’s Word, the Bible
2 Timothy 3:16, Hebrews 4:12, Proverbs 4:20-22, Colossians 3:16, John 1:1, Psalm 119:105
- Sermons on Worship
Psalm 29:2, Romans 12:1, Colossians 3:14-17, Isaiah 12, Psalm 96
- Sermons on Seeking God
Luke 11:9, Matthew 7:7-11, Deuteronomy 4:29, Proverbs 8:17, Jeremiah 29:12-14, Matthew 6:33, Proverbs 2:4
- Sermons on Abundant Life
John 10:10, Jeremiah 29:11, Ephesians 3:20-21, Psalm 1:1-3
- Sermons on Christian Community
Matthew 26:35-37, 1 John 1:7, Hebrews 10:24-25, Acts 2:42-47
- Sermons on Christian Unity
Philippians 2:2, 1 Corinthians 1:10, Romans 15:6, Ephesians 4:1-6, Romans 12:4-5
- Sermons on Trinity
Matthew 28:19, John 14:26, Romans 8:9-11
- Sermons on Facing Giants
Psalm 18:2, Ephesians 6:12, 1 Samuel 17, James 4:7, 2 Corinthians 10:4-5
- Sermons on Spiritual Growth
Hebrews 5:12, Colossians 1:9-10, 1 Peter 2:1-25, 2 Peter 3:18
- Sermons on God’s Provision
Matthew 6:27-28, Philippians 4:4-7, Exodus 16:4, 2 Corinthians 9:8-11, Jeremiah 29:11
- Sermons on Finding Your Calling
Ephesians 4:1-7, Luke 14:25-33, Hebrews 12:1-2, 2 Timothy 2:1-7
- Sermons on Grace
1 Peter 5:10, Hebrews 4:16, Titus 3:4-7, Romans 6:14, Romans 5:8, John 4:1-45
- Sermons on Your Speech
Proverbs 18:21, Matthew 12:36-37, Luke 6:45, Psalm 19:14, Ephesians 4:29
- Sermons on the Joy of the Lord
Romans 15:13, Nehemiah 8:10, Psalm 16:11, Luke 15:10
- Sermons on Missions
Matthew 28:19, Mark 16:15, Romans 1:16
- Sermons on Believing
James 1:6, Matthew 17:20, Hebrews 11:1, John 20:6-9
- Sermons on Wisdom
James 3:17, Book of Proverbs, Daniel 2:21, Psalm 111:10
- Sermons on Forgiveness
Psalm 103:12, Matthew 6:14-15, Ephesians 1:7, Isaiah 1:18
- Sermons on Hope in Christ
Psalm 147:11, Jeremiah 29:11, 1 Corinthians 15:54-55, Romans 15:13, Luke 2:11
- Sermons on Abiding
John 15:5, John 14:6, John 8:31, 1 John 2:6, Psalm 91:1-16
- Sermons on the Church
1 John 1:7, Colossians 1:18, Acts 2:42-47, Matthew 16:18, 1 Corinthians 3:11, Ephesians 2:19-22,
- Sermons on Tithes and Offering
Malachi 3:9-10, 2 Corinthians 9:7, Luke 6:38, Matthew 6:1-4, Mark 12:41-44
- Sermons on Baptism
Matthew 3:17, Acts 2:36-38, John 3:5, Romans 6:3-4, Ephesians 4:4-6
- Sermons on Communion
Matthew 26:26-28, 1 Corinthians 11:25, John 6:53-58, Luke 22:19-20
- Sermons on Lent
Matthew 6:16-18, Joel 2:12-13, Matthew 4:1-11, 1 Peter 5:6-7