It’s important to hone your unique preaching voice and to utilize the teaching or preaching gift that God gives you. In that process, creating a 3 point sermon outline is a great way to develop your thoughts and to record what you believe God is inspiring you to share.
Developing a message that you believe God is leading you to share and devoting time in prayer and study to prepare is an ongoing practice for every communicator.
The goal of preaching is to proclaim or declare good news and inspire life transformation by following Jesus.
If we preach with life transformation as our goal, the result will be believers who are more obedient to the Bible, and we call obedient believers disciples. – Rick Warren
Delivering a sermon is an incredible exchange that requires humility, grace, expectation, and effective communication. While God certainly will empower those He calls, the sacrifice of preparing to preach is a holy experience. Keep reading to learn how to create and deliver effective 3 point sermon outlines that honor God and help people.
Why Are 3 Point Sermon Outlines Effective?
For many preachers and teachers, following a 3 point sermon is helpful because it is a thoughtful way of organizing thoughts, reinforcing the main topic, and creating logical transitions throughout the message.
Messages that are disjointed and difficult to follow are also hard to understand. People can more easily engage with messages that transition seamlessly and follow a logical sequence.
Two-way conversations help sync our brains in a process called “neural coupling,” which refers to the cognitive process of two people’s minds finding common ground on a concept. This synergy helps build rapport and trust; you’ll capture and hold an audience’s attention if you can generate it. – fastcompany.com
Effective sermons create common ground to build spiritual ideas, practices, and truths upon. Yes, preaching and conviction are spiritual experiences; however, as communicators, it’s fair and respectable to do all we can on this side of heaven to create and deliver compelling messages.
Most speakers and audience members would agree that an organized speech is easier to present and more persuasive. – lumenlearning.com
Using a 3 point sermon outline is beneficial to the speaker and the audience. Writing an outline will help you process, analyze, and better understand the message you hope to share. People appreciate well-organized messages and quickly recognize when organization and preparation are lacking.
How To Structure 3 Point Sermon Outlines
To structure a 3 point sermon, you must first identify the main topic, formulate three supporting points to validate your topic, and conclude with a relevant call to action. Essentially there are three components to 3 point sermon outlines:
- The Main Subject Of The Sermon
- 3 Supporting Points
- The Call To Action
Through prayerful consideration, seek to identify what topic, idea, or scripture you believe God wants you to address. As you study and compile notes, you can begin to organize your thoughts into three primary sections.
How to Write a 3 Point Sermon
Most compelling messages follow the basic structure of an introduction, body, and conclusion. While this sounds pretty simple, it can be challenging to ensure each part flows together and is interesting enough to keep your audience’s attention.
- The Introduction Shares The Main Subject Of The Sermon
- The Body Is The 3 Supporting Points
- The Conclusion Is The Call To Action
The most crucial part of delivering a successful three-point sermon is understanding each section and how it works. In other words:
- The introduction is your opportunity to introduce the topic and grab your audience’s attention.
- The body is where you will present your evidence, stories, and arguments.
- The conclusion should tie everything together and evoke a response.
Below is a 3 point sermon template to help better understand and visualize how you can structure your next message.
3 Point Sermon Template
Title: How To Share Sermons that People Stop Ignoring
Topic: The Value Of Using 3 Point Sermon Outlines
Why Should People Care?
People engage and respond more to clear, organized, easy to understand, and compelling communication. 3 point sermon outlines can help preachers deliver more effective messages.
Introduction (The Main Subject Of The Sermon):
Use the introduction to capture engagement by establishing common ground around the idea that delivering more effective messages is essential. There are several ways you can hook your audience into the idea that the topic is worthwhile.
- Use relevant stories
- Ask thought-provoking questions
- Illuminate a problem
- Highlight a pain-point
The goal is to spark an immediate interest in the topic and indicate that the sermon can help alleviate the problem, provide solutions, and offer guidance toward a better outcome.
Body (The 3 Supporting Points):
The body of your sermon is the section you will use to convey why the main topic of your message matters so much. You will use the three points to provide clarity and help your audience connect in a meaningful way to your message.
- 3 Point Sermon Outlines Clarify Your Thoughts
- People Pay Attention To Messages They Can Follow
- Organization Can Lead To Transformation
Use your three main points to validate your subject and make your sermon credible. The content of each point can use several types of communication to strengthen and explain the point:
The goal of using different types of communication is not to be funny, smart, or clever. The goal is to strengthen and support your point.
Always REMEMBER each point should coincide with the others to strengthen the overall subject of your message. If not, you will essentially preach three separate messages within one sermon. We’ve all heard talks like this; they are difficult to understand, hard to follow, and less effective.
The Conclusion (The Call To Action):
The conclusion should unify the entirety of your message and provide an invitation to take action. There are several questions you can ask and pray to consider the best way to end the sermon:
- What response do you believe is appropriate?
- What next step can someone take to apply the message?
- What is one thing some can do to foster relevant change?
When concluding a message, be direct, have confidence that you have shared what you were supposed to say, and call people to take action. Invite people to respond and leave the rest up to the Holy Spirit. Unless God further prompts you, prolonging the message is unnecessary.
10 Helpful Tips For Keeping 3 Point Sermon Outlines Engaging
Preaching and teaching is a unique blend of humanity and divinity. Delivering a sermon is a mix of dependence and effort, simplicity and creativity, grace and truth.
A sermon should have life and vigor – people should be able to relate to it and find it helpful. Almost anyone can create and follow a structure, copy others, or download thousands of sermons online (I don’t recommend the second and third options). However, doing so is stale and impersonal.
You can master the art of creating 3 point sermon outlines, but that’s only half the battle – is it also compelling? Below are ten tips for keeping your sermons fresh and engaging. If you want even more help or a sermon preparation worksheet, check out the post: How To Prepare An Effective Message In 7 Steps.
1. Remain Open To God To Speak Through You
Your notes and the structure of your outline should serve as a guide for your message. I almost always write out most of what I feel is essential to say and then go over my outline several times, many times jotting down additional notes. However, no matter how many notes you make or how much you rehearse them, always keep an open heart before God for Him to change, rearrange, or add to what you have prepared.
2. Develop Your Style
If you’re new to preaching, you may be tempted to imitate one of your favorite preachers; this is normal. While it’s helpful to learn from gifted communicators, remember that God has uniquely gifted you for preaching.
Too often, we spend way too much time on our keynote slides and not enough on how we will communicate what’s on those slides. How we communicate is just as important as what we communicate. – Jeff Henderson
Finding your voice, recognizing if you are more of a preacher or teacher, and honing your style will come with experience. In the meantime, try to be genuine and avoid comparing yourself to others.
3. Prioritize The Introduction & Conclusion
It’s a big mistake to overlook the introduction and conclusion to your message. Both of these components represent how you will engage your audience and how they should apply your sermon.
If people do not feel connected to your message initially, they will be less likely to pay attention. Also, wrapping up your outline without prayerfully considering how you will conclude the message makes for an awkward ending to your sermon.
Preparing for both of these components is just as important as the main points of your outline. If little to no thought is given to both aspects, your message will feel uncomfortable, and the transition into and out of the body of your sermon will feel dislocated.
4. Make It Relevant
As a preacher, you get to help people connect the dots between the truths of the Bible and everyday life. Jesus used examples and stories familiar to people to help bridge the gap between the human condition and spiritual truths. If Jesus made the Word of God relevant, we should too.
5. Focus on Transformation
The goal of every sermon should be to help people grow closer to God. Understanding the character of God, developing a desire to reflect His heart, and pursuing a life of discipleship will require changing the current condition.
When you focus on transformation, it causes you to reflect on why the information matters and how to apply it. Being able to convey both can help people understand and respond accordingly.
6. Make It Personal
One of the best ways to connect with your audience is by making your sermon personal. When people hear that you’re speaking from experience, you become more relatable. When you make yourself reasonably vulnerable, your audience will be more likely to trust you.
It’s best to use personal stories that highlight your struggle rather than position you as the hero. As a preacher, your goal is to serve as a guide rather than the model.
Oversharing stories that highlight your success or obedience can come across as self-absorbed and feel unattainable to the congregation. Highlight the achievements of others to keep from inadvertently platforming yourself.
7. Credit Your Sources
Citing your references may seem minor, but it is an act of honor. Sharing others’ quotes, ideas, or thoughts and allowing your church to assume they are original to you feels deceptive. Plus, people can easily use Google to find the source.
8. Make The Message Interactive
An ancient proverb says Tell me, and I forget, teach me, and I may remember, involve me, and I will learn (1). There are many ways to make sermons more interactive now, especially online.
- Take Polls
- Do Q&A’s
- Ask For Comments
- Provide Fill-In-The-Blank Handouts
- Facilitate Small Groups Using Sermon Notes
You can inspire further growth if you can help people interact with the message beyond just listening to it.
9. Tell Stories
Stories are effective ways to engage your audience around transformative ideas. Using stories can help people see how they can apply the truths of God’s Word in their own lives.
Good stories do more than create a sense of connection. They build familiarity and trust and allow the listener to enter the story where they are, making them more open to learning. – harvardbusiness.org
Stories can make people think and make an emotional connection. You must realize there are thinkers and feelers in your congregation; stories can stick with both types of people long after the sermon is over. Plus, great stories are memorable and easy to share with your friends and relatives.
10. End With A Challenge
When you challenge people to do something, it compels them to action. Ending your sermon with a call to action relevant to your sermon is motivating. Providing next steps that help people immediately apply what they’ve heard can help facilitate further spiritual growth.
3 Point Sermon Outlines Summary
Writing and delivering 3 point sermon outlines can help you and your audience engage with the message in powerful ways. Developing the three main points based on the main subject of your sermon and concluding with a clear call to action is an effective method of preaching.
However, remember that there are no set rules for preaching. So, feel free to mix it up and find what helps you authentically communicate the Word of God. If you get stuck, use the tips above to keep your 3 point sermon outlines engaging, ensure that your message is cohesive, and help those listening move toward transformation and growth.
Could you use more help creating compelling messaging for your church? Check out the following posts:
- 2014 Copyright, Xunzi: The Complete Text, Translated by Eric L. Hutton, Chapter 8: The Achievements of the Ru, Quote Page 64, Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey.