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My Formula for Preaching (part 1)

How to outline your messages so they retain a relational quality

My Formula for Preaching (part 1)See theme

Editor's note: The following article is adapted from the Book of the Year , Communicating for a Change (Multnomah, 2006), by Andy Stanley and Lane Jones.

This outlining method is built around the communicator's relationship with the audience rather than content. After all, the way we organize material on paper is very different from how we process information in a conversation. (Try outlining a conversation with your spouse.) For that reason, this method allows the message to retain a conversational quality. The outline revolves around five words, each of which represents a section of the message. They are: Me, We, God, You, and We.

With this approach, the communicator introduces a dilemma he or she has faced or is currently facing (Me). From there, you find common ground with your audience around the same or a similar dilemma (We). Then you transition to the text to discover what God says about the tension or question you've introduced (God). Then you challenge ...

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Displaying 1–5 of 11 comments

Amy De Leon

May 12, 2017  12:18pm

I've tried this methods many times. It works great! Keeps me focused.

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Alan Hughes

November 13, 2007  1:05pm

This article has changed my whole approach to preaching. I have been able to connect with my congregation in ways that I have never done.

Arthur Keye

February 17, 2007  9:03pm

It's interesting in that I didn't even understand the principle and concept of a sermon outline, being largely without formalized education in theology. With the help of the Holy Spirit, it happens to be what I was doing anyway. In my ignorance and with God's wisdom, oh what things we can accomplish.

John Piatt

February 16, 2007  12:02pm

I am a layman preacher who gets a few opportunities a year to preach when the pastor is out of town. I always want to make the best of it by making my topic relative to the congregation's needs. This outline model is perfect and I plan to use it in the near future. Thanks.

Joseph Leon

February 10, 2007  4:18pm

I found this very fulfilling and I wait for part two

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