How to Write a Shareable Sermon: 5 Tips to Greater Impact

How to Write a Shareable Sermon: 5 Tips to Greater Impact

January 30, 2019 by

Every Sunday in churches around the world pastors are preaching sermons. They’re sharing the gospel with congregations, giving the church the Word of God. But does the sermon ever go beyond the walls of the church? If you really want your sermon to have an impact, it needs to be something people can share.

If a sermon isn’t being shared and spread beyond the people in the room, then it’s just a really expensive lecture.

A good sermon should have an impact on people. It should stick in their minds and make them think. They should want to talk about it, and ultimately, they should want to share it.

Proper sermon preparation is covered in seminary, but that’s often a theological and academic endeavor. Here in the real world, sermons need a more practical element to spread and have an impact.

If people hear a sermon but can’t remember anything about it, did it even exist?

We’ve got five tips to help make your sermons more sharable:

1. Make it Short

Phil Bowdle makes the case for a lack of attention in today’s world in his book Rethink Communication:

The average attention span of a goldfish? 9 seconds.

The average attention span of people in 2018? 8 seconds.

A neglected pet will pay attention for longer than people will. So why are sermons still so long?

If you want your sermon to be heard, to be more effective, more engaging, and actually shared—make it shorter. The exact time for a “long” sermon varies by congregation and denomination, so we won’t get into numbers. Just be shorter than you usually are. Start by shaving off just five minutes.

2. What’s the Point?

What’s the single thing you want your congregation to walk away from your sermon thinking about?

  • Come up with a single main idea (yes, only one), and distill it into a short phrase or sentence.
  • Use repetition to cement that one idea into people’s heads.
  • If you’ve got a graphics team or you create sermon graphics, this phrase should be in all the graphics.

People will be much more likely to share and talk about your sermon if the point is something they can remember. That will happen if you’re intentional about helping people remember it.

3. Tell a Story

Now your sermon is going to embellish that point, go deeper, and explore the idea further. A good story is a great way to do that. Make sure your sermon isn’t just a collection of ideas and good advice. It’s great to include quotes and reference other thinkers, but you should also be sure to tell a story.

There’s a reason Jesus told parables.

Those simple, quick stories will stick in your head. Someone is much more likely to be able to repeat a story from your sermon than a quote. So whether it’s a Bible story, a personal story, or rehashing someone else’s story, put a story in your sermon.

Remember that time when…? People love to tell and retell stories.

4. Use a Bible Passage

Make sure your sermon has a Bible passage connected to it. That’s kind of obvious, right? Whether you use liturgy or are preaching through a book of the Bible, it’s pretty standard for a sermon to be based on a Bible passage. But that’s not always the case. Sometimes the connection is pretty loose. Or you’re talking about a bigger idea and leaping from passage to passage.

The point is, using a Bible passage gives people somewhere to go back to. Make sure there’s a clear Bible passage you can point to. Encourage people to reread that passage as they think about the point of your sermon.

Now this probably won’t directly help people share your sermon. But it does help package the idea and tie your sermon back to something people are hopefully doing anyway—reading the Bible. The goal is that your sermon is making people think so much that they want to go back to that passage and read it again. That kind of ruminating on the idea in your sermon leads to people sharing it.

5. Be Quotable

Your sermon needs to be quotable. You need to say things that are helpful, thought provoking, and memorable. That doesn’t happen by accident. It happens intentionally when you write a good line, hoping it’s something that will resonate and people will share.

Then you deliver that line just right. You don’t rush through it. You might even repeat it.

And more than a few good lines, you should work to have sections of your sermon that stand out. If someone were to watch only 30 seconds of your sermon, which would be the best 30 seconds? How could you say something helpful and profound in just 30 seconds?

Any good effort at repurposing content will be splicing your sermon into social media posts. You’ll have quotes and chunks of text and short video snippets. But to make those efforts truly successful, think about that kind of bite-size content while drafting your sermon.

Don’t wait until after a sermon is delivered to think about sharing it.

It Takes Intentional Effort

If you’ve ever watched a famous person talk to the press, you’ll notice they say the same thing over and over and over again. They have a specific message they want to communicate, and they’ve come up with a concrete line that nails that message. So they say that same thing repeatedly. They have go-to lines that work, so they use them.

Celebrities don’t just come up with this stuff on the fly. They’ve put a lot of work into honing their message and making sure it will be shared.

Pastors need to work just as hard to make their sermons sharable. 

Post By:

Kevin D. Hendricks

When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998, runs the hyperlocal site West St. Paul Reader, and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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