(Put Some Points in Brackets)

It seems obvious, but preaching involves delivering a message.  It isn’t about delivering your outline via powerpoint, or presenting your outline verbally.  It is about delivering the message.  The outline is for you, it doesn’t always have to be given to them.

One thing that happens when we feel we need to give over our outline in our presentation is that we tend to always state our points when we start them.  You know the routine, “My second point is XYZ.”  Then we proceed to demonstrate that point from the text, and explain it to the listeners, and support it with some anecdotal or biblical evidence, and then illustrate it with our pithy little story, etc.  This tried and tested approach is big on clarity, but it can also be deadly dull to hear.

I remember sitting in a conference where I’d noticed the sermonic pattern by the second message and was then able to predict what would come next for the rest of the day, whoever was preaching.

Sometimes your next point shouldn’t be given up-front in your first sentence of that section of the message, but rather held back and developed before being delivered.  A point in a message might be better delivered inductively, rather than deductively.  This avoids the dull tedium of every section of every message being the same.  Here comes the verse, here comes the explanation, now he’ll refer to a cross-reference, wait for it, here comes the illustration.  Instead you might begin the next point with an illustration, or a question, or an explanation with the point itself held back.

I was taught that an inductively developed point in a message should be written in the outline in brackets.  Simple little approach, but it reminds the preacher that the preaching event is not about a slightly animated reading of an outline.  Actually, the outline is supposed to record what the message does, how it develops, etc.  For some preachers that has become reversed, so that the message is supposed to say what the outline states.  Your goal is to preach a good sermon, not to demonstrate or even deliver your good outline.

(Put some of your points in brackets, lest every five-minute section sound essentially the same!)

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