The next appeal that Koller speaks of in his book How To Preach Without Notes is the appeal to Curiosity. This is a “susceptibility to that which appears novel, unfamiliar, or mysterious.”
Koller sees it as primarily an appeal to the imagination. Because of this, it has “suspense and anticipation” built into it. Koller notes that even Jesus used this appeal. For example, when Jesus told Zacchaeus, “I must stay at your house.” (Luke 19:5). Or when Jesus told Nathanael, “I saw thee before you were under the fig tree.” (John 1:47).
Koller notes that this appeal is susceptible to abuse. This abuse may come from “irreverance” or “dishonesty.” Examples of this can be seen in our recent post on sermon titles. Part of the problem with some of these is both irreverence. But a more fundamental problem is the dishonesty of some of the titles. These titles often have nothing to do with the sermon and thus are dishonest about the sermon contents.
Preachers must take caution not to fall into the traps, but after having done that, preachers should make use of this very effective appeal that even Jesus used.
Perhaps one of the most common errors in sermonic structure is to have too many competing points. Sometimes preachers exhibit this error when they go on tangents or on asides that are only marginally related to the main point.
In any case, a sermon should have one major point or theme. Grady Davis calls it an idea that grows, Haddon Robinson calls it the big idea, Thomas Long calls it a focus statement, Paul Scott Wilson calls it the Major Concern of the text, Bryan Chapell calls it the Fallen Condition Focus, Brad Braxton calls it the Gospel Claim, and Henry Mitchell calls it the Controlling Idea.
Whatever you call it, your sermon needs a driving idea that is behind it that helps you determine what to add in and what to leave out. Too many sermons have no one major idea. Sometimes the “three points and a poem” turn into three sermons and a whoop with little reference to any of the other points.
To fix this problem in your sermon, ask simply what one thing are you trying to teach in the sermon? All of the “points” or “moves” should support that one point. If it does not then drop it.
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