The Title Can Wait for Your Church Sermon Subject

I’m of the opinion that most preachers enjoy coming up with church sermon titles.  I’m not opposed to this.  After all, it’s short, pithy titles that go into newspaper ads, or on the church marquee, in the Sunday bulletin, on the website, etc.

When I work with pastors on their Sunday sermons, however, and I ask them what their sermon subject is, I don’t want a clever title.  I just want to know what the basic topic is they plan to talk about.  Is it jealousy, holiness, scripture meditation, the final judgment, the prayer of confession, evangelism, repentance or what?  I’m not looking for a “catchy” answer, just a clear one.

“So you’re preaching from Galatians.  What’s Galatians about?  What’s the basic subject of Paul’s letter?”

“It’s about responsible freedom in Christ.”

“Good answer.  And how does the passage from Galatians you have chosen to preach on fit into Paul’s overall theme of responsible freedom?”

“It’s the first half of chapter 5 and Paul is warning the Galatians against moving back into legalism with its long list of do’s and don’ts.  That’s law-based living and not the Christ-centered responsible freedom he is advocating.”  “Excellent!”

A phrase like “responsible freedom” may not be all that attractive as a church sermon title, but it makes for great clarity when you start to put a sermon outline together.

When a preacher comes up with his or her sermon title isn’t of great importance to me, but I would advise nailing down what your basic subject is early on in the church sermon preparation process.

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