Brian Mavis has an article up on sermon title creation at this link. Mavis illustrates the importance of title by noting that the same book under different titles have had much different sales figures. Titles are very important. With that in mind one wonders why so little is written in homiletics texts on this subject. While I am by no means an expert, i have written on the subject in a few posts on this particular site.
In this article Mavis gives 10 rules for taking title from average to outstanding. These 10 are actually tactics that can be used to come up with a provocative title. I actually found the article helpful and suggest that you all read it.
The first rule is to Harness the power of popular culture. Here you use references to movies, songs, sports, or other things in the popular culture. As noted in previous posts the title alone can guide the sermon and might even point to the central metaphor of a sermon. I was listening to a sermon by Caesar Clark entitled “The Possibility of a Comeback.” The sermon’s central metaphor made us of the “comeback” image applying it largely to sports. The sermon just flowed from that start.
The second rule is to Play with Words. Mavis gives an example of how he played with words to go from a sermon title of “Jacob Wrestles with an Angel” to the much more provocative, “Punched by an Angel.” In addition to this you might want to play around with alliteration and other rhetorical techniques. Dr. Martin Luther King used to take his notebook and work on finding ways to say things with more rhetorical power. Perhaps we should practice this same technique.
Another rule is to Turn Conventional Wisdom on its head. I really like this idea in that it really causes people to sit down and listen to you. Next is a Call to Action. Tell people what to do. Another valuable rule is to Use Scripture. Henry Mitchell says that in preaching we are seeking o give the congregation a number of texts that they can count on when things get rough. If we connect the text directly to our sermon title then maybe they will also remember our sermon.
There are 5 others and I would encourage you to go visit the site to find them, but as noted in the previous post, you might want to try to come up with a title in each category and then choose the best one you come up with. Sermon titling is not easy, but with the categories that these preachers have given us we at least have somewhere to start.
For more information on sermon title creation, I would ecourage you to look at my simple method for the creation of a sermon title. Learn More Here..,
Learn the secrets of Good Title creation at my own “sermon title handbook” for a method for putting together good sermon titles.