Simple Sermon Outlines: Developing One Idea


The primary purpose of this structure is to develop an idea by moving your audience from a common starting point to a unified conclusion. To do this, you need to identify some important things: your main goal, your starting point, stops along the way, and finally your conclusion. Let’s look closer at each of them.

Identify Your Goal or Summary Phrase:

To bring clarity to your sermon you must have a clear intended goal or summary of your intentions. This phrase should be succinct and be easy to repeat. Keep this idea in mind throughout your development of your sermon. Use it to help think through the other steps and to gauge how the material fits into your sermon. A simple rule: if it doesn’t help bring clarity to your main goal or purpose save it for your next sermon.

Common Starting Point:

This may be a particular experience, a story, or a problem you intend to address. This step is all about gathering the wide range of people into one common place so that everyone is on the same page as we explore deeper into our main goals, scripture and the like.


With a clear starting place and a clear goal, you can now create stops along the journey that move people from the starting point (by say addressing the problem, questioning the experience etc.) toward your main goal. You can have as many stops as you need, but you should be sure to dedicate some of your stops to God’s word. A few other options may include: challenging a view counter to God’s view, bringing in different experiences to your starting point to question that experience or bring new stories to help develop your ideas. All of your stops should feed into your goal by either moving people closer to the goal or reinforcing the goal. 


Having started in a common place and developed your ideas over some stops you can now hammer into your main goal/summary phrase. Make sure to take some time to consider the practical implications of your ideas and it’s always great to give a tangible goal to both the individual and the community of faith.

This should give you a solid foundation from which to write a sermon where you want to develop a single idea. 

In the follow-up to this post I developed an example sermon outline which can be found here.

The Simple Sermon Outline Series brings you quick tips and structures for your preaching.
Check out the rest of the series.