You’ve been asked to step up to the pulpit and preach for the very first time?
What an incredible honour!
Clearly, someone has recognised your hard work and faithfulness and sees your potential.
Right now, I imagine you’re feeling that unique mix of nervousness and excitement that comes just before a rollercoaster ride – what I like to call the “happily terrified” feeling.
And you know what? That’s perfectly normal.
Those jitters are a sign you truly care about this moment and are taking it seriously.
Now, you might be wondering, “What on earth should I preach about?”
Don’t sweat it. I’ve got your back. I’ve put together a list of 21 sermon topic ideas, especially for this milestone moment.
Whether you’re leaning towards a heartwarming message, a rallying call to action, or a sprinkle of timeless faith-based wisdom, we’ve got just the thing.
Together, let’s make your first sermon that’s not only memorable but truly life-changing.
What To Preach About For The First Time?
Figuring out what to preach about in your first sermon can seem like a daunting task, but here are a few handy hints to help you get started…
Ask God What He Wants To Say To His People
This is always a great starting point. Sometimes God will bring to mind a specific scripture, story or parable that’s meant to be shared.
Ask The Pastor
Your church might have a sermon series or your pastor may already have a topic in mind. Don’t hesitate to ask if there’s something specific they’d like you to preach about.
Choose A Text, Not A Topic
Make sure you’re preaching God’s ideas, not your own, by avoiding topical sermons where you pick the theme and cherry-pick verses to fit your agenda.
Pick a scripture and preach what it says, how it relates to us now and what we can apply today. You’d be surprised how many Bible verses provide a ready-made sermon outline.
Consider Your Audience
Think about the people you’re speaking to. What are their questions and challenges? Tailor your message to connect with them on a personal level.
Preach On Your Favourite Verse
Think about your favourite Bible verse – it’s your favourite for a reason! This can be a great starting point for your sermon.
Share Your Personal Testimony
And if all else fails, you can always share your personal testimony and weave in relevant scriptures.
People love a good story and maybe there’s plenty of people who haven’t heard yours.
There’s no one way to choose the right topic for your first sermon.
Just keep it simple and biblical and trust the message will reach the hearts that need it.
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What To Preach About For The First Time: 21 Ideas
1. Finding Strength In Weakness – 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
2. The Unconditional Love Of God – Romans 8:38-39
3. Discovering Your God-Given Purpose – Jeremiah 29:11
4. Walking By Faith, Not By Sight – 2 Corinthians 5:7
5. Embracing Forgiveness & Letting Go – Ephesians 4:32
6. The Power of Prayer In Our Daily Lives – Philippians 4:6-7
7. Overcoming Fear With God’s Perfect Love – 1 John 4:18
8. What You Build Your Life On Matters – Matthew 7:24-27
9. Bearing Fruit In Every Season – Galatians 5:22-23
10. Trusting God’s Timing – Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
11. Living A Life Of Generosity & Giving – 2 Corinthians 9:7
12 Staying Anchored In God’s Word – Psalm 119:105
13. Seeking God’s Will In Every Decision – Proverbs 3:5-6
14. Finding Peace In The Midst Of Chaos – Philippians 4:6-7
15. The Transforming Power Of Grace – Ephesians 2:8-9
16. Living As Salt & Light – Matthew 5:13-16
17. Responding To Trials With Faith & Perseverance – James 1:2-4
18. The Joy Of Serving Others – Mark 10:45
19. The Kingdom Of God: Here and Now – Luke 17:20-21
20. Walking In Humility & Grace – Philippians 2:3-4
21. From Brokenness to Wholeness: God’s Healing Touch – Isaiah 53:5
How To Prepare Your First Sermon
The better you prepare, the better you’ll preach. Here are a few pointers to help you prepare your first sermon:
Study The Text
Now you know what you’re preaching about, research your chosen text to see it from every possible angle.
Spend time mulling over the verses in your mind and jot notes down when flashes of inspiration strike.
Write Out Your Outline
When writing your sermon outline, think of your sermon as 3 main parts:
Present the issue or question in the Problem section to build anticipation. Don’t rush into the solution; let your audience feel the need for the answer.
Then, open your Bible to the chosen verse and share God’s solution.
Finally, conclude with a clear and compelling call to action. Remember, true change happens when we become doers of the Word.
Include Stories & Illustrations
People love a good story because they can connect with it on an emotional level.
That’s why Jesus used stories in his preaching all the time.
Illustrations are a good way to demonstrate what you’re saying and make your point easier to remember as well.
Craft A Memorable Bottom Line
Take the time to craft a bottom line or key takeaway that sums up your entire message. A well-crafted bottom line will stay with your congregation throughout the week.
Practice What You Preach
Once you’ve finalised your sermon outline, practice preaching it a few times until you’re comfortable with it.
Record yourself if you want to and even ask a trusted friend or experienced preacher for feedback so you can make any necessary tweaks.
Finish Prepping Ahead Of Time
The last thing you want is to find yourself up at 2am on Saturday night (technically Sunday morning), stressed and rushing to finish. Trust me, I’m speaking from experience!
If you’re scheduled to preach on a Sunday, aim to have your outline finalised and rehearsed by Thursday. This way, you can avoid last-minute panic and ensure you get a good night’s rest before the big day.
Getting Ready To Preach For The First Time
I still remember my first sermon like it was yesterday, but I’m probably the only one and I thank God for that!
But your first sermon doesn’t have to be bad – here are a few tips to help make your debut sermon a great one:
You’re bound to be nervous and that’s ok. Just take a deep breath and remember the message is more important than you are.
Nobody’s expecting perfection.
Chances are, especially in your home church, everyone will be in your corner and cheering you on every step of the way.
Look At The Congregation
Maintain eye contact to keep your audience engaged.
Avoid fixating on one person (because that can get kinda awkward) and instead, let your gaze naturally sweep across the room.
This simple technique exudes confidence, even if you’re feeling a bit jittery.
You want to make the most of the first 90 seconds to captivate everyone’s attention from the get-go.
You could start your sermon with ple with a shocking statistic, personal story or inspirational quote.
End Just As Strong
Ending your sermon well is just as important as how you start as it’s what will leave a lasting impression.
Finish with a thought-provoking statement, a powerful call to action or a heartfelt prayer that encapsulates the core message.
This final moment is your chance to drive home the key takeaway you want your audience to carry with them.
Stick To Time Limits
Each church has a slightly different idea of how long a sermon should be, but whether you’ve been allocated 20 minutes or an hour, stick to the time limit you’re given.
Most churches have a clock on the back wall to help keep the service running on time, if not then you could set your own timer (on vibrate!) or volunteer someone to give you “the nod” when your time’s almost up.
Preach The Word, But Trust It Too
To overcome the fear of preaching, remember your job is to speak to the best of your ability and trust that God will do the rest.
When you’ve done all you can and it’s time to step up to the pulpit, trust that the Word of God is more than enough to accomplish the work of God in the people of God.
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Got Questions About Preaching? I’m Here to Help!
I hope these ideas and tips have helped get inspired about what to preach about in your first sermon and given you the confidence you need to do it well.
You totally got this! 💪
Remember, every preacher starts somewhere and you’re already on the path to becoming a powerful preacher.
If you have any questions at all, don’t hesitate to drop me a comment below and I’ll do whatever I can to support you on your preaching journey! 🙏