Easily Preach Short Powerful Sermons
Definition of a Short Powerful Sermon
A short powerful church sermon is a message delivered by a pastor or minister during a worship service that is concise and impactful. The key to a short sermon is focus on a single main point (or theme) and use techniques such as storytelling, personal anecdotes, and scripture to drive the message home. A short sermon should be no longer than 15-20 minutes and should be easily understood by the congregation.
As a Pastor, I rarely preach longer than twenty (20) minutes. Any longer, at our church anyway, and eyes glaze over! Your message should grab attention from the start and keep it throughout the entire message. This can be done by using a memorable opening illustration, or by asking a thought-provoking question to challenge hearers.
Further, it should connect with the audience on a personal level, using relatable anecdotes and examples. The message should also be grounded in scripture and provide practical application for the congregation to take away and apply to their daily lives.
What Messages Can I Preach This Sunday
If you require a ready to preach sermon, please consider downloading life changing sermon outlines here. However, if you insist on preparing your own lesson and are pressed for time, consider these twelve (12) easy to preach sermon topics with reference texts:
The power of forgiveness (Matthew 6:14-15)
Why faith is crucial (Hebrews 11:1)
For God so loved (John 3:16)
Undiscovered power in prayer (James 5:16)
The importance of humility (James 4:6)
Blessings in hard work (Proverbs 14:23)
Why forgiveness is crucial (Colossians 3:13)
How hope provides power (Psalm 42:5)
Your giving conditions you for service (2 Corinthians 9:6-7)
The importance of wisdom (Proverbs 4:7)
Positive thinking and its power (Philippians 4:8)
The importance of serving others (Matthew 25:40)
I have never, and do not ever plan on using one (1) verse to preach even a short sermon. At minimum, I use a package of two sets of verses, from different areas of this text, to bring a larger idea together. I do understand, however, that the practice of preaching from one (1) verse is common among my colleagues. As you know, quoting one (1) verse can often distract from the Holy Spirit’s intent overall. Therefore, use the above scriptures wisely.
If you desire more advanced topics to preach, here are twelve (12) to study, meditate on, and deliver:
Problem with evil and suffering (Job 1:21)
Nature of God's sovereignty on human free will (Romans 9:19-24)
Difficult teachings of Jesus people avoid (Matthew 5:38-48)
Mental illness and its relation to faith (John 9:1-3)
Sexual morality and its relation to faith (1 Corinthians 6:18-20)
How does race relate to faith (James 2:1-9)
Effectively addressing end times and eschatology (Revelation 20:1-6)
Social justice and its relation to faith (Isaiah 1:17)
What is predestination and election (Romans 8:28-30)
The truth about creation and evolution (Genesis 1:1-31)
How your money demonstrates your level of faith (Matthew 6:24)
Is the afterlife real (John 11:25-26)
The above topics are difficult because most are meeting points between popular culture and biblical truth. For instance, item number four (4) on mental illness and its relation to faith. Somehow, God's people view people with mental illness differently than those suffering some form of physical sickness such as heart murmurs. This, of course, is non-sense as all sickness results from sin in the human condition. I will discuss more on this later however, allow the Holy Spirit to lead you.
Unique Sermon Topics Which Will Bless
If you want to challenge the congregation’s faith, there are also unique sermon topics. These topics are a bit different but are worth considering as short sermon topics:
"Forgiving When You Absolutely Should Not" (Colossians 3:13)
"Persevering in a Woke Culture" (James 1:2-4)
"Transforming Into a Graceful Superhero" (2 Corinthians 5:17)
"The Freedom of Serving" (James 4:7)
" When Weakness IS Strength" (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
"Seemingly Insane with Faith" (Hebrews 11:1)
"Blessed Into Obedience" (Deuteronomy 28:1-14)
"Blessings of Brokenness" (Psalm 51:17)
"Treasure Found in Humility" (Proverbs 22:4)
"Why Trials Matter to You" (James 1:2-4)
"Changed Heart or New Heart?" (Ezekiel 36:26-27)
"Released to Forgive" (Matthew 6:14-15)
These are just a few examples of topics but there are many more.
Are There Short Sermon Topics I Should Avoid
The answer is a resounding yes! Some topics not only demand more time but require multiple Sunday sermon series. The worst-case scenario, short of preaching “false doctrine”, is that God’s people leave confused or with questions. It is one thing to leave with questions on how one will apply the sermon to their lives. It is quite another to not comprehend what was said to begin with.
Here is a personal list of topics I would never preach except as a multi week sermon series:
1. “Judging Others” – I know we are taught it is un-Christian to judge someone else but this is not true. Christians could not even preach Jesus crucified without judging the world as wicked and in need of the message. Ever invited someone to church? How is this not judging your church “worthy” and “healthy” enough to receive new souls? This topic is much more exhaustive than simply judging others as well. There is, however, a personal judgment which can turn into condemnation, and this is wrong! Avoid this topic if you are not willing to effectively package and deliver a multi week series.
2. “Mental Illness” - Although too many congregations have been taught “head” sickness is worse than “neck down” sickness, nothing is further from true. There is nowhere, biblically, when God stated someone with a disease of “reasoning” (mental illness), more sinful than someone with a physical illness such as cancer. In Daniel chapter 4, God punished Nebuchadnezzar with mental illness for disobedience. In the Book of Exodus, God punished Miriam, sister of Moses, with a physical illness. You are robbing the Kingdom of God if you touch on this topic in a one-week, short sermon.
3. “False Prophets” - this is (judging) that false prophets should be recognized and confronted. That doesn't even scratch the surface of how to deal with them post identification. This is at least a six-week sermon series.
As you can see, I have presented three (3) subjects you should avoid if you don't have significant time to “build the case”. If not having enough time for sermon preparation has become a lifestyle, reexamine how you are approaching ministry.
There is nothing more important than preparing yourself to deliver God's Word. We can have the 1st Timothy 3 discussion on family first, however, Jesus taught that we should lay aside everything in His service. You're not only discipling others, but you are also discipling yourself as well. Never forget you are just as important to God as the congregation you lead.
3 Grueling Sermon Subjects
This is one of my more favorite subjects to write about! I was not necessarily blessed with the graceful heart of a shepherd. The Lord Jesus wired me with the spirit of John the Baptist and all the confrontation that brings with it. Watching God’s shepherds up close with my pastoral level access, they rarely preach subjects that are super offensive to people.
The heart of grace God has gifted real Shepherds is a double-edge blessing of sorts. On one side, I marvel at their ability to relentlessly love people. God didn't fill my cup to overflowing in that area. The other side of that relentless love is refusal to be as bold as necessary. However, and when they do arrive at the place when they aggressively confront, they are most often so angry it sounds like a personal attack.
Here are three (3) grueling sermon subjects most pastors avoid preaching:
1. “Jesus the Divider” - it is amazing that most picture Jesus Christ as a “great uniter”. There is no more divisive figure from the Book of Genesis 1 to Revelations chapter 22 then Jesus of Nazareth. The image of him as a peace loving, benign, 1960s hippie style leader is a demonic mischaracterization. Jesus even said he did not come to unite anyone but to divide even family members against one another. When we look at his effect on the Sanhedrin Council, it is clear Jesus could be called the “great divider” as well. For my Bible students, show me one (1) scenario where Jesus preached, and didn't force someone to decide for or against him. Church pastors scurry away from this subject and unfortunately, most will never accept this.
2. “Unrepentant Sinners are Going to Hell” - there is none who claims Jesus as savior who can deny this truth. However, when is the last time you heard a sermon on hell in your church? This is a difficult topic which most pastors refuse to preach. Sure, they will mention it every now and again, but they run away 99% of the time!
3. “Adam and Eve did not Commit Original Sin” - when reading that, the hair on the back of your neck stood up, right? You are ready to call me a heretic for even mentioning this! This should only be preached by those who are willing to be thrown out of a church. Let's establish some definitions to begin with. First, “original" still means “first” correct? There were at least two (2) sins committed prior to Adam and Eve. First, we read of an Angel who rebelled against God, named Lucifer, in Isaiah chapter 14. This cherub was cast out of heaven for rebelling against God. Next, we find an evil serpent in the Garden of Eden who lied to Eve in Genesis 3 (prior to Adam and Eve sinning). We can agree that Lucifer was cast out of heaven before creation, right?
Next, we can agree that the serpent’s lie proceeded the sin of Adam and Eve eating the fruit God told them not to correct? If both things are true, Adam and Eve committed the third sin and not the first. It is one thing to say: “Adam and Eve committed the first (original) sin”. It is quite another to say: “Adam and Eve committed the first human sin”. Those are totally different paradigms which Christendom must reckon with. For Adam and Eve to have committed the original sin, you must redefine what original means.
This only scratches the surface of difficult topics that most Pastors avoid. Admittedly, topic #3 is unknown to them, and to you as well. I once said this very thing, and presented the biblical case on a YouTube video, yet God’s people balked and called me a false teacher. This was more likely Holy Spirit conviction because they had been fooled for so long by false doctrine.
Was My Short Sermon Effective
Evaluating the effectiveness of a sermon can be a challenging task, as it often involves subjective opinions and personal preferences. However, there are several key factors that can be used to gauge the impact of a sermon. One important aspect to consider is the level of engagement and participation from the congregation. If the audience is actively listening and responding to the message, it is likely that the sermon is having a positive impact.
Another important factor to consider is its relevance to the audience. A sermon that addresses needs is more likely to be effective than one that is disconnected from their daily lives. For instance, I have never preached a sermon on “raising healthy children” to our congregation. All these Saints have adult aged children who attend elsewhere.
In order to improve the effectiveness of a sermon, there are several key strategies that can be employed. One is to focus on the needs of the congregation which are revealed through the Holy Spirit. By understanding the audience's perspective and tailoring the message to their specific needs, a preacher can create a more meaningful and impactful sermon for the church home they lead. Did you notice how Jesus engaged people He witnessed to? One great example is speaking to fishermen about “fish”, farmers about “seed”, and the woman at the well about “water”.
Ultimately, a sermon's effectiveness may never be known because God does not measure "success" as we do. Just preach the everlasting Gospel of Jesus Christ. God will do the rest.
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