The One Point Sermon

For years, I preached conventional three- or four- point sermons. Those of you from Good Shepherd remember me saying “you can put that in your outline” several times during a given message.

Then about two years ago, thanks to Andy Stanley’s book Communicating For A Change, I began preparing and delivering sermons with one point. One idea. One truth. Communicated in several layers. Communicated visually as well as audibly. But one take-away truth that people can more easily remember and apply.

And you know what? Back in the old days, I never had anyone come up and say to me, “Talbot, that third of four points you made really went home with me today!” Nor did they ever repeat all four points back to me — even when I used alliteration!

But in the era of the one point message, people throughout the week often repeat the big idea back to me verbatim. Ideas like:

  • Forgiveness is learned so teach it well.
  • You’re never more like God than when you welcome a runaway home.
  • Take a risk for the at-risk.
  • Marriage is more about being the right person than finding the right person
  • When you feel inadequate, God has you where he wants you.
  • And (adapted from Andy Stanley himself): Good people don’t go to heaven. Forgiven people do.

Now there are still occasions when my messages will have more than one point. But most of the time, by saying less I end up saying more.

The same is probably true of your communication as well.