I was listening to a podcast by Andy Stanley. He gave these five things that he uses to structure a sermon or talk before he delivers it. He said that everything a preacher says should lead to the main idea or as Andy calls it, The One Thing. Here are the five questions every preacher should ask.
1. What do they need to know? – This is information. What is the burden that you as the preacher have to unload. If you do not unload this then you might explode.
2. Why do they need to know it? – This is motivation. Here, tension is built. If the audience is not convinced they need to know something then they will view it as irrelevant.
3. What do they need to do? This is application. Homework. What can I ask them to take this to the next level.
4. Why do they need to do it? This is inspiration.
5. What can I do to help them remember? Andy recommends sending home a strategic visual aid. He also said that it might be a good idea to send home a free sermon CD to people who were absent from the service the week before.
I find these questions very useful. I try to use them in preparation for most sermons. I hope they help you.
What questions do you ask yourself in preparation for a sermon?