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March 9, 2019

How to Prepare Your Sermon for Launch Day

By New Churches Team

Imagine a group of people walking into your church plant for the very first time. You greet some of them before the service starts, talk through a couple last-minute changes with your staff, and maybe put out a few fires as the welcome team gets acclimated to their new role. When the music ends, you get up to introduce yourself and see new faces who still are not quite sure what to make of the experience.

If you are in the process of planting a church, you have probably thought about it before: when the first Sunday rolls around, what will it look like? When you get up in front of the congregation for the first time, whether it is 5, 50, or 500 people, what will you preach? Here are three things to help you deliver a successful first sermon as you launch your church plant.

  1. You need a plan.

Before you ever begin your sermon, you should have a plan. A good plan may consist of several factors and may depend on your preaching philosophy, but it will most certainly aim at retaining congregants from the first week and getting them back the second week. If you like to preach through books of the Bible, choose one with an easy entry threshold so that people who have not attended church regularly in the past can stay with you. If you prefer to preach topically, then preach to bring Scripture to real human needs, such as stress or anxiety.

Whatever your preaching philosophy, make your first sermon the beginning of a 4-6 week series. This series will help encourage people to return the following week for the next part. Be strategic in the timing of your first service, too. If you start on Palm Sunday, for example, you will see many people return the following week on Easter.

  1. You need a hook.

The tone that you set in the first service will either motivate or demotivate people to invite others. It is important to remember that as you establish a new service, you need to convince people to come along with you. You also need to establish an identity. Are you going to be a Bible teaching church, or are you going to discuss five things you learned in psychology with some verses taken out of context in the footnotes?

If you plan to teach the Bible, make that clear. Give your series a compelling title and maybe even create specific graphics for the series, but focus on delivering accessible and relatable content.

  1. You need perspective.

Remember that you are planting a church and likely seeking out unchurched people. Because of this, you will want your first sermon to have a low threshold of biblical understanding. Remember, you are trying to get people to come back. The depth of preaching in your first service should not be the same as the depth of preaching a year later. You can work toward a deeper biblical literacy as your sermons grow with your congregation.

 

Adapted from the New Churches Q&A Podcast Episode 59: Preaching Tips, Series Ideas, and Launch Day. Click here to subscribe and listen to more to church planting, multisite, and multiplication tips.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

New Churches Team

NewChurches.com wants to help you build a strong foundation by connecting you with top experts in the field of church planting and multisite ministry, and by regularly providing you with the resources, information, and community you need to thrive as you multiply the mission of Matthew 28.

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