10 amazingly popular sermon templates

Did I make you look?

The 10 most popular stories last week from a web site called, appropriately, Mental Floss:

1. 65 Amazing Facts That Will Blow Your Mind, by Jason English

2. 42 Idiom Origins Explained, by John Green

3. 11 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Still Buy, by Therese Oneill

4. What Your Facebook Status Updates Say About Your Age, by Arika Okrent

5. The 10 Most-Watched Series Finales Ever, by Stacy Conradt

6. 10 Old English Words You Need to Start Using, by Mark Forsyth

7. 10 Future Stars Who Appeared on ’80s Crime Shows, by Jennifer M. Wood

8. How to Cook the Perfect Steak, by Max Silvestri

9. 15 Creative Uses for Old School Buses, by Virginia McGuire

10. 10 Things to Know About Gravity, by Erin McCarthy

11. How Many Spaces Should Be at the End of a Sentence?, by Arika Okrent

I read this list and thought about sermon writing. Numbered lists. Questions (or implied questions). Little mysteries. A promise that the story can deliver on.

Should a sermon writer take a hint from these? Or is that being seduced by advertising tricks?

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4 thoughts on “10 amazingly popular sermon templates

  1. Listicles exchange depth for breadth, a considered mental engagement for speed, and, to facilitate the first two, focus on superficial filler rather than impactful topics. It’s the kind of stuff that you use to fill in conversations at social gatherings; quick facts to impress your friends with or fill in the empty hours of the day with some extra noise. I would say that their popularity is born of our need for quick gratification. It’s curiosities for often incurious people.

    The advantage is that people find them very easy to invest in. Not that anyone needs to invest much to get what the author is trying to give them. I personally don’t see it as something I would use for myself.

    I guess it depends on what you want to get from a sermon. Maybe you want a quick attention grab to draw in new people or liven up the thinking of the older faces. And that has huge value. But I think you need to balance that with the desire to light a spark and leave someone wondering what else you have for them, or where what you’re saying will lead. The listicle leaves the consumer satisfied upon its completion, not looking for more. And of course, if you want a deeper exploration of a single subject, I don’t think you’ll be served very well.

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