Among my most popular posts are the ones on Sermon Titles. There is just not that much information in book form or on the web on the issue. However, one might be able to learn from other people who have to title something. The other day I found this site that talks about titling a book.
The first approach is to make a command. The example given on the website was “Write your Best Book Ever.” Perhaps we could use a title like “Change Your Perspective.” That doesn’t really feel like a command. Maybe a little more dramatic like, “Look Up!” Assuming that up will be a change of perspective rather than looking around. That feels a little better. Plus it easily translates into a refrain that can be used in the close of the sermon. “You might see the wicked winning. All I gotta tell ya is Look Up . . .” Look Up feels better to me than my original God’s Perspective.
I don’t really like How-to titles because the sermon could degenerate into a lecture and as I have written elsewhere the sermon ain’t a lecture. But a how-to title might be “How to Answer the Unanswerable Question.” Here the sermon emphasizes Habakkuk’s question of why God allows evil. The sermon attempts to answer the question. However, the sermon didn’t really answer that question so I probably should go on. Another title might be “How to Wait for The Answer.” That is better because the sermon actually addressees Habakkuk waiting for the answer that ultimately comes from God. One could use illustrations from life on waiting. In any case this sermon title is better than my original one.
The Provocative Statement
The example given in the website was “5 Mistakes to Avoid That Drive Your Web Visitors Away In Less Than 2 Minutes.” A possible sermon title in line with this approach would be: “God’s Answers Don’t Make Sense.” The sermon could deal with the fact that God does answer, but often we dont’ want to follow or believe the answer.
A question-title might be: “Why Wait on the Answer?” Here Habakkuk had 3 questions and the last one he had to wait on the answer. However when the answer came it provoked a response of worship and thanksgiving in chapter 3.
The Big Promise
A big promise might be: “You Gonna Celebrate When you Hear the Answer.” I would probably shorten that to “Wait till you Hear it.” Here the sermon emphasizes that the answer will come, and when you hear it you will celebrate.
A thought in line with the previous ideas is “Celebrating Tomorrow’s Answer.” However that does not really seem to be confusing. I think I should try to mix metaphors. This is actually a very difficult thing to do. However a more appropriate title might be: “3 Questions, 2 Answers, and a Shout.” Here Habakkuk’s 3 questions are reduced to 2 answers and then there is the more complex answer which becomes God’s answer and Habakkuk’s praise for it. So the 3rd answer is actually both God’s answer and Habakkuk’s response to the answer. In previous questions Habakkuk was almost an adversary of God, but in this one the two become one in the praise.
The Top Benefit
A Top Benefit Sermon Title might be: “Praising for the Answers.”
One thing that is interesting about this exercise is that it helped to clarify what the sermon would be about. Such an approach is probably a valuable exercise for all preachers when thinking about titling a sermon. I think that the title, “Wait till you Hear it.” is much better than my original title, “God’s Perspective.” Try it: what titles could you come up with?