When sitting down to develop a sermon, one has to consider many factors, but before I detail those factors, I would like to state that a sermon is very different from the stories that we write and read in other books. We should be able to draw good example from Jesus Christ our Savior. He preached messages that could cause repentance or a total turnaround in the lives of people. They were so particular and inspiring that generations down the line, the messages still can change lives. When you decide to write a sermon, it is an opportunity for you to commune with people about godly things. Here are some tips on how to develop a sermon.
- Choose a topic if you have not been given one. If you have not been given a topic, decide yourself what you would like to share and the Holy Spirit will lead your choice through your own desire and decision. The topics may differ according to the type of meeting or season of the year, e.g. Christmas, Easter or any other seasons. If you have been given a topic by those who invited you or by church leaders, then study and outline it carefully.
- Seek God's guidance in prayer. The word of God was inspired by the Holy Spirit and therefore, reading it and quoting it with a carnal mind cannot bring out the best of it. For anyone to interpret the word of God appropriately, there has to be a leading of the spirit of God. Reading it without such an inspiration is like reading a letter or newspaper.
So before you even take the Bible and start reading, seek God's guidance. Pray that God will help you to read and understand His word before you can tell it to others. It is easy for you to tell people something you are convinced is true or ought to be by the way you are saying it. Remember our God is an awesome God, and if you pray to Him that your need is to read, understand and prepare a sermon, then God will surely do it for you. Amen.
- Select the language to use. Use the appropriate language because different languages were given by God and for a purpose. If the sermon is meant for the people of your native language, then don't use a foreign language even if you passed it in school. My experience has shown that preparing a sermon in a different language to present it in that language is not effective. If the sermon is for people of a different language, then prepare for an interpreter when the message is being presented.
Consider your audience. Your audience shall determine the success of the sermon because they are the end users or final recipients. Bear in mind that the sermon you preach to prisoners is slightly different from the one to the luncheon of a professional group, and also different from a school Christian Union group. No wonder Jesus used the water of life sermon to the Samaritan woman and fishers of men to the fishermen. He could speak to Roman soldiers differently and Pharisees differently. So prepare your sermon with the audience in mind. Narrow it to core points if it is for a small group, but broaden to accommodate many ideas if meant for a mammoth crowd.
Research related Bible verses. Read and research the Bible verse as backups; there are people who like taking notes and are keen to note verses that are quoted from the sermon. They go back and study in their homes, and by giving them backup scriptures, you help them a lot. Remember Jesus defeated Satan by quoting scriptures to him.
Include examples that are practical. Give practical examples to drive the point home. Don't give an example of farmers of Sri Lanka when you are preparing a sermon to be presented to a group of sailors at the seashores of the Caribbean. Jesus could not have talked of the sower to the fishermen, but he gave appropriate examples to make people see HIS words as a mirror for the purpose of reflecting upon their lives.