Finishing off the list of potential dangers that come from pouring our efforts into generating memorable outlines, rather than seeing the sermon outline as our strategic plan (which is for us, rather than primarily for them). The strategy and the weapon should not be confused in warfare, and the strategy / arrow confusion in preaching can undermine the process. So continuing on:
4. The potential for present impact can be dissipated by energy poured into future recall. Let the present message mark deeply now, rather than relying on recollection later when impact may be diminished. In fact, preach in such a way that present impact is as profound as possible, combined with motivation to get listeners back into the Bible on an ongoing basis. (What if people don’t feel capable of finding the three brilliantly stated points when they look at the passage again?)
5. The arrow of the main idea can be lost in the listing of lower level sub-points. Deliver one idea effectively and you will see lives transformed. Overwhelm people with numerous sub-points and impact won’t be the description being used of the preaching.
6. The listener can develop the notion that preaching is about poor education. You know the type of education I mean, listening for the points that will be on the test, then forgetting everything two days later. Preaching can imply life is like that, but it isn’t. We need to know someone, much more than we need to know lots of things. Spirituality is not defined by taking notes or filling in the blanks. As I’ve written before, “It’s weird, but when my wife opens her heart to me and speaks, I don’t reach for a pad and a pencil, I open my heart and I listen.”
I could add more thoughts, but will leave it there. Feel free to add more, or disagree, of course (after all, taking away the transfer of outlines from our view of preaching is not a small move).