“Uhm, it was about cows or something…” I overheard her say. She had been asked what the sermon was about; it was the golden calf, I know because I had preached it! Clearly, despite a third of the room responding to the altar call, the point of the sermon had not come across to the entire room. 🤦
I had a realization that day: we need to hammer a lot more on the big idea of a sermon than we think. Not only should we follow Haddon Robinson’s tried and true advice, but we should also hammer on those big ideas with technology.
Here’s a few tips on how to drive home that main exegetical point from your sermon so that people remember and act on it.
1. Show your big idea phrase in text as a slide repeatedly
I see a lot of slides used in sermons… usually too many slides. Personally, I don’t use slides often, but if you are going to use them, then the emphasis of your slides should be to reinforce your big idea statement or phrase. For example, if I’m preaching Job, then I would want to show a slide at every point that says something like “justice only happens when we stand before a just God.” It should be able to stand on it’s own just like “got milk?”
2. Show your big idea in the pre and post service announcements
Yeah, there’s no rule that says you can only hit your big idea during the sermon. If people keep seeing the big idea throughout their visit (or viewing if online), they are more likely to remember it the next day at work. If you give out handouts or bulletins, put the big idea in the most prominent spot.
3. Reiterate the big idea in social media and emails
Your social media can be a good place to remind people about the big idea from the sermon. Post it up earlier in the week to reinforce the sermon point. This can be a great place to pop in something you had to edit out of your sermon itself. You can also do a quick self-shot video in your car or out on a walk talking about how you are being impacted and trying to live out the big idea from the passage. Drop the big idea in your weekly email and try to connect it with a disciple action like giving, joining a small group, volunteering, etc. if it makes sense.
4. Make the big idea the focus of your small groups for the week
Okay, this definitely requires a lot more preparation overall, but small groups are a great place to reiterate the big idea of a passage. That being said, you definitely want to slot the big idea into more of a Hook-Book-Look-Took approach that skews toward the application so that people are internalizing and living out the big idea that has already been laid out instead of just discussing it on an intellectual level.
These aren’t all-inclusive, so be creative and look for more opportunities to drive home that big idea.