Did you know that most people forget 90 percent of sermons within 24 hours?
Your message is too important to be forgotten so fast. So how can you help people remember?
There are a lot of ways that people try to preach unforgettable sermons. Some work; others don’t.
But the best way is to learn from Jesus.
His sermons were so memorable that we still remember them almost 2,000 years later.
Here are just three examples that we can learn from Jesus:
1. BE SIMPLE
Jesus preached in simple and powerful statements. A great example is, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 19:19).
Jesus spoke in simple ways to simple people. For the most part, it doesn’t take a college degree to understand Jesus’ teaching. Most of his concepts can be summarized in a single sentence.
A simple and memorable statement will have some artistic nature to it. They may rhyme, have alliteration or be an interesting play on words.
For example, I preached a sermon where the main idea was, “What would you do if you knew God was with you?”
I emphasized the rhyme of “do,” “knew” and “you.”
Another simple point I have used is: “If you want your kids to follow Jesus every day of their lives, you need to make Jesus part of your everyday life.”
These crafted, simple statements are easy to remember and help your listeners carry the message with them when they leave the building.
If you can’t summarize your message in a single, simple sentence, you aren’t ready to preach it.
2. BE SHOCKING
Jesus often used outrageous examples, exaggerations or shocking statements to get people’s attention. These statements were not all meant to be taken literally, but they got the point across.
For example, Jesus didn’t mean that we literally have to rip out our eyes and amputate our hands for causing us to sin (Matthew 5:29-30). Otherwise, all Christians would be blind amputees.
Another great example from Jesus is when he said, “Blessed are the poor” (Matthew 5:3).
That must have caught his audience by surprise. People don’t associate being poor with being blessed. Most people think, “Blessed are the rich.”
Jesus said unexpected things that shocked people to help us all remember his point.
3. BE A STORYTELLER
Jesus was a master storyteller. “He told them many things in parables” (Matthew 13:3).
Think about all of Jesus’ parables: the prodigal son, the good Samaritan, the lost sheep, the sower and the seeds, and more.
Jesus knew how to weave a story to communicate his message in a memorable and powerful way.
- He could have said, “Love everyone like they are your neighbor.” Instead, he told the story of the good Samaritan.
- He could have said, “God wants to save all lost people.” Instead, he told the story of the lost sheep.
- He could have said, “Not everyone who hears my words will follow me.” Instead, he told the story of the sower.
People don’t always remember my sermons, but I am always surprised by how much they remember my stories.
Years after I told a story and forgot that I ever shared it, people have reminded me of it.
Stories are powerful. The good ones stick with us the rest of our lives. Jesus knew this and used it to help us remember his teaching.
So here’s the bottom line:
If you want to preach unforgettable sermons, preach like Jesus.
Learn from Jesus and be a simple, shocking, storytelling preacher.
You can find these tips and more in my book Preach and Deliver.
This article originally appeared here.