Make a List and Check It Twice (a Month)


Do you use a journal? It doesn’t matter whether you favor apps like Evernote or prefer the tactile feel of a journal in your hands—as long as you record your thoughts often. While you likely have a system of note taking that works for you—if so, stick with it—consider keeping a running list of possible sermon topics. It will come in handy more than a few times—especially when you’ve run out of sermon ideas!

How often should you journal? And what sorts of topics and ideas should you keep in your “sermon ideas” list? Here are some guides to get you started:

  1. Trends: Do you notice any trends in your church, in the Church in general, in the news, or in relationships around you?
  2. Particular Scripture verses that have come to mind and the activity/conversation you were engaged in that triggered it.
  3. Heartwarming moments with kids (and the silly yet profound things that sometimes come out of their mouths).
  4. Media: Song lyrics that relate to “bigger picture” theology, news clips, social media posts/debates, or books you’re reading.
  5. Everyday conversations you have or overhear that lead to an “a-ha” moment.
  6. The beauty of nature. Take a hike, scale a mountainside, or go fishing for an afternoon and you’ll likely come away with a great lesson or two.

Update the list often and if you feel stuck while writing a sermon, or any presentation for that matter, review this list and see if anything jumps off the page. There may be items that stay on your list for months or years without turning into a teachable moment for someone else—and that’s ok. But there will be plenty more that provide the perfect catalyst for great conversation.

Just remember: You won’t remember it if you don’t write it down immediately!

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