As we wrap up this blog series, let me pose some final thoughts on building sermon outlines. Once again, the outline forms the skeleton of your sermon. The content you’ve gathered become the organs, the muscles, and the skin that make up the bulk of the body. Never leave home without an outline.
(1) Are the three outlines really necessary?
The short answer is “yes”. The three outlines provide a process of deriving biblical principles and turning them into applicable points for your congregation. As you grow as a preacher, you will no doubt become quite adept at building the outlines through intuition. In fact, you might be able to go straight to the homiletical outline. However, know that even the most seasoned preachers can make errors in exegesis. To avoid errors, I recommend building all three outlines in sequence for every sermon.
(2) Learn the basics first.
The outlining example in the previous article was quite simplistic and devoid of creativity. It’s better to be simple but biblical than to be creative but heretical. Learn the basics of outlining first and try to use simple and direct language. You can transform the key points into something more creative later.
(3) There are other methods out there.
What I’ve proposed in this series is one particular method for building a good homiletical outline by going through the exegetical and theological outlines. Although there are other methods out there, I find this particular one simple and effective. In my observation, other outline methods are simply a creative transformation of the homiletical outline. I do recommend experimenting with other methods and being creative with your homiletical outline. But as I mentioned above, learn the basics first.
(4) You’re not done yet!
Having a homiletical outline doesn’t mean you’re ready to preach. It simply means that you know the key points that you want to get across to the audience. There’s more work to be done after you’ve built the homiletical outline. But completing that crucial outline is the first major step to becoming ready to deliver a sermon.