This is one of the most effective outlines for preaching a topical sermon, taken from Andy Stanley and Lane Jones’s book, “Communication for a Change: Seven Keys to Irresistible Communication.” They prescribe that this outline is the basic structure for any sermon and that each element should be a part of every message. I have used this structure for years in my preaching, specifically for camps, retreats, seminars, or topical messages.
- ME (Orientation) – Introduce yourself and your topic – find common ground with your audience.
- WE (Identification) – Build an emotional common ground with your audience – build as many bridges emotionally as possible.
- GOD (Illumination) – God has a solution for us today – engage your audience with the text – Don’t just read it. Don’t explain it to death. Make it fascinating!
- YOU (Application) – Find one point of application everyone can embrace. Don’t ask them to make a life-altering decision. Give them a measurable or reachable goal. Encourage them to try something for a week, a day, or even a month.
- WE (Inspiration) – cast a vision – prompt a decision by briefly describing what would happen if this group of people would follow what has been taught. Tell them to imagine what WE could do together.