In many ways, the three point sermon is the sacred cow of the traditional pastor (or preacher, if you prefer).
The three point sermon is lauded as the ideal balance for meeting the spiritual needs of the congregation and can only be improved upon if there is a sweet morsel of poetry attached delicately to the end.
Or is it?
Recently, I have been reconsidering the three point sermon and experimenting with what is most certainly a scandalous idea: the one point sermon.
At this year’s Chick-fil-a Leadercast, they interviewed notable advertising guru named Ken Segall. Though you probably don’t know Ken by his name, you probably know him by his work. He’s the guy that named the iMac, that wrote the legendary Think Different campaign, and nearly singlehandedly made Apple the marketing giant it is today.
Ken is the master of simple.
Here’s the quote that made me to forsake the three point sermon:
Would you rather say five things people will forget or one thing they will remember?
Wow, what’s really my goal when I preach to students (or adults for that matter)? Is it to preach the way I was taught? Is it to preach the way they have been trained to listen? Is it maintain the preaching status quo?
I would argue that it’s not for any of those things – it’s for life change.
Jesus instructs those listening to His sermon that it’s not enough for them to simply hear the message, the most important aspect of hearing a sermon is the doing of the sermon. That’s why Jesus taught groundbreaking truth in a radically simple way.
Simple to follow, simple to understand.
When we have several points for people to remember, we are actually giving them several points to forget.
Occasionally, my wife calls me on my way home with a grocery list. I have good intentions on making a mental list of everything she names off to me. The reality is that by the time she names off the third or forth item for purchase, I have already forgotten items one and two. Now, we live in an understanding that I need a list via text message if I am to arrive home with all the items we need for dinner. This has made life much better for me.
Here’s the bottom line: if you stick to one main idea in your message, your message will stick with your people.
Don’t preach points A, B, and C. Just preach point A and help them apply it to their lives. They’ll thank you.
Three Quick Tips on Preaching One Point Sermons
- If you find multiple points in your topic or passage, preach them on different weeks by making a series.
- Instead of a sermon having multiple points of truth, craft your one point (of truth) sermons with multiple applications.
- State your point multiple times in your message. People need the reinforcement.