Top 5 Techniques for Sermon Idea Generation

This post is a part of the ProBlogger.Com Group writing project. If you have a Blog I would encourage you to join in. In This post I have the Top 5 techniques for SErmon Idea Generation. I assume that you already have a text.

  1. Look at the Text through a theme. Here you take a theme like Youth or Mother’s Day or Seniors, or some other theme. You then look at the text explicitly to see if what the text says specifically about the situation under consideration.
  2. Look at the Text from different perspectives. Here you change the perspective. For example, we often read the story of the Prodigal Son and place ourselves in the position of the son and place God as the father and then we place others as the brother who never left. What would happen if we make ourselves the father? How does that change the story? What if we try to appreciate what the brother who never left actually went through and look at the story from his perspective? Doing this can force us to look at the text anew and might help us see different things that we might not otherwise see.
  3. Look at the text through a particular doctrine – This is an interesting approach. Often when we seek to teach doctrinal texts we use the didactic portions of scripture and not the narrative ones. But what would happen if we looked at a story with a particular doctrine in mind. What does the story have to tell us about that doctrine? What does the above mentioned Prodigal son story tell us about say the Trinity. You might hit a dead end, but attempting to find such a connection can help to make doctrines more relevant in the mind of the hearer.
  4. Look at the text for images, sounds, and smells – Listen to the text and see what images are in the text. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you smell? How do these things fit with other images in the Bible? What sites and smells are in the prodigal son story? Well we have the smells of the pig pen versus the smells of the home cooked meal. The difference in smell alone might spark some sermonic content. What about what about thinking about what the prodigal son saw on the way back home. What was on the road from the pig pen to home? No doubt it was the same road that he come in on. What has changed so that now the same sights, sounds, and smells that was leading him away from home is now leading him back home? Here we have more thoughts for sermons that come from the sights, sounds, and smells in the text.
  5. Look at an old Classic – Often we put too much emphasis on orginality. instead look at a common text that has been preached often over and over again. What does this text say to us today? There are reasons that many of these texts are common.

There you have it. 5 top techniques for sermon idea generation. If you follow them then you will have more sermons than you have time to preach.

Sherman Haywood Cox II

Vanderbilt Trained Minister (MDiv), Univ. of Alabama Trained Software Developer (MS), Author, Blogger (, Husband, Son, Brother, Father.

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