Whether this is your first time addressing a crowd or you’ve been delivering sermons for decades, you need to organize your thoughts and create a structure and flow for your words to have the greatest impact. A Sermon Outline Template provides an easy-to-follow guide that allows you to focus on the message you are trying to convey so you can deliver what your congregation needs most in a way they can understand. It can also help keep the sermon on track, prevent it from becoming too long or too short, and ensure you remember everything you want to mention. Our professionally designed template downloads at the click of a button, and it’s simple to modify every week. Best of all, it’s reusable and compatible with MS Word and most other writing programs, so you can make changes and include new passages or ideas easily.
What Is a Sermon Outline Template?
A sermon outline template is a tool used to help prepare and organize sermons. It outlines the main points of a sermon and can help the preacher organize their thoughts and ideas before delivering a sermon. The template typically includes sections for the sermon’s introduction, body, and conclusion, plus space for taking notes. The template can also be used to create outlines for an entire sermon series.
The Importance of Sermon Outline Template
A sermon outline template is an essential tool for any pastor or preacher. It provides a structure for organizing ideas and thoughts prior to preaching a sermon. This helps ensure the preacher effectively communicates the intended message to the congregation.
In recent decades, the global increase in reading and writing capabilities, along with readily available writing materials, allowed more and more sermons to be written down. The exact date of the first sermon outline template isn’t recorded, but they have been used for over a century. More recently, these templates became digitized as computers became widely available.
Today you can download a template in seconds, saving time and effort while still creating a powerful speech for your listeners. Modern sermon outline templates are much more standardized and accessible. Although various religious groups and preachers use different delivery styles, a good outline template is universal.
Fun Fact: Early Christian priests used mnemonic devices and memorization to help them keep their sermons organized.
Essential Elements of Sermon Outline Template
The essential elements of a sermon outline template are divided into two columns. On the left are descriptions of different parts of the sermon and areas for notes or other components, such as pausing for songs or displaying visuals. The righthand column contains all the essential details. Below is an example similar to what you can expect from the template.
|Introduction||Here you would describe or write your opening. It should be powerful, enlightening about the topic of the day, and catch the attention of the people.|
|Hook||The hook sets the tone of the sermon, and it needs to get people interested. Sometimes this is a question.|
|Context||Context explains why this is relevant, the historical or personal significance, and any other explanations needed.|
|Exegesis||This should explore the history, significance, and theological implications and analyze the passages you’ve chosen in greater detail.|
|Main Point 1||What is the main purpose of sharing this message?|
|Explanation 1||Discuss the point above. Where possible, use examples and further explanation.|
|Illustration 1||Your illustration could also be called an application. This is where you use an anecdote, tell a story or otherwise show why your main point matters in a more practical way.|
|Main Point 2||What is the secondary purpose of your message?|
|Explanation 2||Are there practical applications or moral ones? Why does this point matter to the people you are speaking to?|
|Illustration 2||Illustrating your point in this context is all about how you make this relatable to your audience.|
|Main Point 3||The last point supporting your overall theme or message|
|Explanation 3||As above, make notes on its uses, meaning, and other important concepts.|
|Illustration 3||Try to bring your sermon back around to the original point by supporting it here.|
|Conclusion||Summarize your main points and then leave people with a memorable message of hope.|
|Notes||Include any ideas or other asides you may need in this section, such as mentioning a parishioner’s birthday if your flock is small or reminding people about a community event.|
|Visual Aids, Music, or Miscellaneous||Finally, add anything you want to know or remember about timing songs, visual effects, or other presentation aspects.|
Tip: You can add a space for specific notes, feedback, or presentation ideas to help with future sermons.
To help you make the most of your sermon outline template, we’ve answered the most frequently asked questions about this topic below. You will find additional information about including personal anecdotes or stories in your sermon, how to conclude a sermon using your template, and ensuring your sermon outline template is appropriate for your specific audience or congregation, among other helpful facts.
How much detail you should include in your sermon outline template depends on the type of sermon you are giving. Generally, the more you have in your outline template, the better. A good template should include the main topics and points you plan to cover and key scriptures or other resources to support your ideas. Additionally, if you plan to have visuals or other elements in your sermon, noting those features in the outline template is important.
Here are some excellent tips on how to make your sermon outline template more engaging and interactive for your audience:
ᐅ Incorporate visuals. Use graphics, photographs, or visuals to enhance the presentation and help keep your audience engaged. For example, use photos of Bible stories to illustrate key points or provide a diagram to show how different Bible passages relate to one another. The most common visual aids are graphs, clip art, and diagrams.
ᐅ Incorporate humor. Humor engages the listener and helps them feel less stressed or uncomfortable by easing tension in the room. For example, use humor to help your audience laugh during a difficult discussion about bullying or death.
ᐅ Use color. Paired with the use of visual aids, using color in your presentation will help you and your audience identify important concepts and messages. For example, use red for the labels on a chart or white for a pie chart to help people see different elements being discussed easily.
ᐅ Portray an optimistic future. If you are speaking at a conference or presentation, inform your audience that you are confident about the future of their children or lives. Whether it is the future of your church, a specific passage, philosophy, or anything else, if you’re positive and confident in what your audience will face soon, they’ll be more likely to be engaged with your message.
ᐅ Maintain eye contact with your audience members while presenting; this shows that you are present and genuinely interested in them as individuals who can contribute to the discussion and learn from it as well.
ᐅ Keep your presentation brief and to the point; refrain from giving irrelevant or unnecessary background information or additional facts that will not further the conversation.
ᐅ Ask questions of your audience members to engage them in the conversation, and make sure you are genuinely interested in their answer instead of merely using it as a way to move on from your presentation topic.
ᐅ Be attentive to body language. What is your congregation member’s posture? Are they looking at you? Are they nodding their heads? Avoid talking over them or in a condescending tone, and be careful not to appear too nervous or frustrated when you are speaking.
ᐅ Don’t be afraid to get personal. Keep the conversation light, and always remember that your congregation is in your church for a reason! Even if they are not regular attendees, you can always ask them what interests them or what led them to this sermon.
ᐅ Be genuine. For example, if you’re speaking about a memory from 7th grade, laugh at yourself and the situation now and then – it makes people feel more comfortable when someone is relatable and authentic.
You can include personal anecdotes or stories in your sermon outline template. They should illustrate your point or be relevant to the topic you are preaching about. However, it is essential to make sure the anecdotes are appropriate for the audience and that they can easily follow and remember the central message of your sermon. Additionally, make sure that the stories are brief and don’t detract from the overall flow of your sermon. Doing this gives people a sense of personal connection.
Your conclusion should summarize everything you’ve discussed in the sermon in a few sentences so people don’t forget what you mentioned earlier. Make sure your final statements include only the essential talking points and don’t wander too far from the core intent.
You can also add a last thought or question for people to ponder until the next time you see them. Finally, add a positive message at the end for your parishioners to think about. If they leave smiling, they are more likely to remember your words. It doesn’t need to be extensive. A simple statement will do.
Here are some tips on how to practice using your sermon outline template before delivering the sermon:
ᐅ Read the outline and familiarize yourself with each section and point.
ᐅ Identify any areas where more material or research may be necessary to complete the outline fully.
ᐅ Write out your sermon points in complete sentence form, elaborating on each topic and connecting them to your main idea.
ᐅ Practice delivering the sermon, either aloud or in front of a mirror, following the structure of the outline template.
ᐅ Record yourself delivering the sermon and listen back to it to identify areas for improvement.
ᐅ Make adjustments to your sermon outline template as needed based on feedback from your practice sessions. Adjust your words accordingly, adding or subtracting material as needed and revising your entire sermon if need be.
ᐅ Continue to practice delivering the sermon until you feel comfortable with the content and delivery.
ᐅ After you have perfected your sermon, you are ready to deliver it.
ᐅTo help your listeners better understand the points you are making, you may want to print out a handout containing “Myths and Facts” about the subject of your sermon.
The best way to ensure that your sermon outline template is appropriate for your specific audience or congregation is to do research on their backgrounds and beliefs. Talk to people about what matters to them. By understanding the views and interests of your audience, you can tailor your sermon outline template to best address their needs. Additionally, it may be helpful to speak with congregation members or other religious leaders to better understand what topics and themes might be most appropriate for your audience.
A sermon outline template is a valuable tool for organizing and preparing for a sermon. It can help preachers organize their thoughts, structure the discourse, and provide a framework or outline. It also helps to make sure that the preacher covers all of the critical points in the sermon. Ultimately, a sermon outline template helps ensure the sermon is well-structured, compelling, memorable, and powerful. Using our high-quality template will help you keep your ideas and talking points organized and make it easy to access your notes on important statements, passages, songs, or visuals you plan to use.