How To Write Compelling 3-Point Sermon Outlines In 3 Steps

Monday morning you’re sat at your desk, surrounded by open books and your Bible.

Determined, you try to write a compelling 3-point sermon outline that’ll inspire hearts and renew minds.

Yet despite hours of study you struggle to organise your ideas into anything close to coherent.

preachers block

If this sounds familiar, you’re not the only one…

We’ve all wrestled with the fear of falling short and felt the constant pressure to deliver fresh, meaningful sermons week after week.

But here’s the good news:

There is a way to manage your time and prepare sermons with a structured approach.

In this guide, I’m going to walk you through a 3-step process to write 3-point sermon outlines the RIGHT way – the way Killer Sermons Academy teaches.

Ready to make your next sermon your best one yet?

Let’s do this.

What Is A Sermon Outline?

A sermon outline is a structured framework that helps preachers organise their main points, supporting details, stories and illustrations. It serves as a roadmap for delivering a clear, cohesive and impactful message to a congregation.

Now that we’ve explored the importance of a well-structured sermon outline, let’s dive into the step-by-step process of how to create one that works for you.

How To Write A 3-Point Sermon Outline In 3 Steps

These are the exact steps I take when writing a sermon.

If you follow these 3 steps, you should drastically cut the time it takes to complete your sermon prep and preach better sermons.

1. Select Your Verse Or Topic

If you already have a topic in mind, great! Skip to the next step.

If not, here are a few ways to figure out what you want to preach about:

  • Pray: Ask God what he wants to say to His people through you
  • Flow With Your Sermon Series: If you’re in the middle of a sermon series, think about a topic that complements the overarching theme
  • Consider Your Audience: What are their struggles and aspirations? What do they need to know? What action do you want them to take?

Still stuck? Here are 10 sermon topic ideas to help you get the creative juices flowing:

And here are 21 topic ideas for if you’re preaching for the first time.

Now that you’ve selected your verse or topic, let’s move on to the next step…

2. Study The Text

Now that you’ve chosen your verse or topic, it’s time to dig deep and study yourself full.

This research phase is important because, as a preacher, your most powerful sermons are the ones where what you’re saying matches what God is saying through His Word.

Here are some ways to delve into the scripture:

  • Read With Purpose: Don’t just skim; immerse yourself in the text. Imagine yourself present in the room, hearing these words for the first time. Read and reread to understand the context and its relevance to your audience.
  • Explore Perspectives: Read different Bible commentaries and translations to view the passage from various angles and get a more complete picture.
  • Unearth The Meaning: Use an online concordance to explore the original Greek or Hebrew. This can unveil nuanced meanings and shades of interpretation.
  • Focus On The Problem and Solution: Ask yourself, what problem is this text addressing? How does it provide a solution or offer guidance? This understanding is pivotal in preaching a message that resonates.
  • Meditate And Reflect: Spend time mulling over the verse in your mind. Let it speak to you on a personal level. Take notes when flashes of inspiration strike.

By immersing yourself in the text, you’ll uncover layers of wisdom and insight that will lay a solid foundation for your sermon outline.

3. Write Out Your 3-Points

Now it’s time to turn your Bible study into a compelling 3-point sermon outline.

This format aligns seamlessly with Andy Stanley’s “Me, We, God, You, We” sermon structure as outlined in his book Communicating For A Change.

Depending on how long you preach, you could break your sermon outline down into 3 equal sections, allocating around 33% of your time to each part.

For example, if you’re preaching for an hour, you could spend approximately 20 minutes on each point.

Or you could opt for a 25%-50%-25% split where you dedicate 10 minutes to your intro, 20 minutes to the main portion and 10 minutes for your wrap-up.

Point #1: Build Tension & Create Interest (Problem)

Start your sermon by identifying the core issue or challenge the passage addresses.

Tell a relatable story, pose a thought-provoking question or address a struggle everyone in the room can relate to.

You want to grab attention, build tension, cause everyone to lean in and make them hungry for the solution you’re about to reveal.

Point #2: Answer The Tension With God’s Word (Solution)

Once you’ve identified a clear problem, guide your listeners to the Scriptures for the answers. This encourages them to turn to the Bible when facing life’s challenges.

If you have a memorable bottom line or key takeaway that sums up the core message, now’s the perfect time to introduce it.

Here are a few examples of impactful sermon bottom lines:

  • Religion compares me to others, but the real thing compares me to Jesus
  • Rules are confirmation, not a condition, of a relationship with God
  • Faith is knowing God is who He says He is and will do what He says He will do
  • There’s no win in comparison
  • What would you do if you were confident God was with you? In you? For you?
  • Jesus said yes to forgiving us so we could say yes to forgiving each other

Next, take them on a journey through the passage, making sure it flows naturally and reinforces the solution you’re offering.

Feel free to include any remarkable stories or memorable sermon illustrations to bolster your point and really drive it home.

Point #3: Inspire Your Listeners To Take Action (Application)

Finally, you want to inspire life change by ending your sermon with a strong call to action.

Your call to action could be:

  • A challenge for them to take on
  • A next step to take
  • A question for them to answer
  • A truth for them to believe

Now you’ve told them how to respond, take it a step further…

Inspire them with questions like “Can you imagine if…” and “What would your life look like if…” to paint a powerful picture of what is possible when we become doers of the Word and not hearers only.

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4 Ways To Make Writing Sermon Outlines Easier

1. Plan Sermons As A Team

I don’t know where we got the idea preachers have to prepare sermons alone but having a group of guys who can help you come up with ideas for your messages is a total game-changer.

Follow this step-by-step to prepare sermons as a team.

2. Follow A Weekly Sermon Prep Schedule

Preaching is a rush, but knowing you have to preach again in 7 days can be exhausting and sermon prep can eat too much of your time.

This is where having a sermon system and following a weekly schedule comes into play.

Get it right and you could easily save 16-20 a week in sermon prep.

Here’s an example of what your weekly sermon prep schedule could look like:

Monday: Review the sermon objectives and desired response. Pray and read through the text and come up with a first draft. Meet with your preaching team for feedback and ideas.

Tuesday: Study the text and write out your basic sermon outline.

Wednesday: No official sermon prep. Note down any ideas that come to mind.

Thursday: Study in the morning and finalise your sermon outline, adding relevant stories and illustrations.

Friday: Now the outline is done, ask for one-on-one feedback and make any tweaks. Make slides and practice your preaching out loud.

Saturday: Day off.

Sunday: Go out there, preach your heart out and watch God rock up.

There’s a whole lesson in module 2 of the Killer Sermons Academy training dedicated to mastering sermon preparation and taking back control of your weekly schedule.

3. Leverage The Power Of AI

We live in amazing (and scary) times where we have tools at our disposal that can make our sermon prep easier and our preaching better.

If you haven’t played about with ChatGPT yet then give it a try.

You can ask it to polish up your intro, craft a more compelling bottom line, help explain how concept A relates to concept B and so on. The possibilities are endless!

Start with this free AI guide for pastors.

4. Plan A Year Ahead

If God can speak to you the night before your sermon then he can speak to you a year before.

By far the best way to take the stress out of preparing and delivering powerful messages week in and week out is to break the preaching up into 12 monthly sermon series throughout the year and plan them ahead of time.

Here are 12 monthly sermon series ideas you can use.

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🚀 Elevate Your Preaching Skills: 28 lessons cover everything from writing compelling outlines to delivering dynamic messages so you can become a powerful preacher.

🔥 Personalised Coaching: Get one-on-one feedback on your sermons from seasoned preachers who are committed to seeing you thrive.

💡 In-Depth Workshops: Dive deep into specific sermon techniques so you can master the art of preaching sermons that connect.

🔓 Unlock Your Preaching Potential: Whether you’re preaching for the first time or looking to refine your skills, Killer Sermons Academy is the ultimate resource.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to transform your preaching and maximise your impact. Join now and start delivering killer sermons!

Writing A 3-Point Sermon: The Bottom Line

Remember that effectively crafting sermon outlines is a skill that grows with practice.

Keep honing your abilities, never stop learning and you’ll be amazed at what God’s Word accomplishes through you.

If you found this guide helpful, explore our other preaching articles designed to help you become the best preacher you can be:

Before we wrap up, I want to hear from you!

What are your go-to methods for writing 3-point sermon outlines?

Do you have any questions or insights to share?

We’d love to hear about your experience with writing sermon outlines so be sure to share your thoughts with us in the comments below! 🙏

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