The way that sermons are outlined reflect not only the preacher’s personal preferences, but also provides insight into the preacher’s theological understanding of the Word of God. Sermon outlines have a tremendous impact upon the way that sermons are understood and on how the scriptural truths discussed in the sermon are implemented. Consequently, the methodology for outlining a sermon is a vital concern for the minister of the Gospel. While the possibilities for outlining a sermon are almost endless, contemporary outlines can be divided into three broad classes, first, traditional outlines in which the information in the sermon is divided into points, second, non-outlined sermonic approaches that dispense with the outline more or less completely, and finally, application-oriented outlines in which the sermon points Pregacao evangelica are specifically points of application.
Traditional outlines are prepared to guide the preacher in the delivery of sermons. The outline is thus the means by which the preacher organizes the sermon to convey the information that he intends to communicate to the hearers of the message. The outline enables the preacher, to see how the parts fit together. The idea of organizing and displaying the interconnections of the material to be preached, primarily as an aid to the preacher, is a dominant concern for the practitioners of the traditional sermon outline. The outline is thus, at its core, an information structure that systematically categorizes the information in the sermon’s scriptural text or texts as an aid to the preacher in communicating the information in a logical and consistent manner.
There are those who reject completely the very concept that sermons should be structured with an outline. An oft-cited early example is the “homiletical plot” that Eugene Lowery described for the communication of narrative stories in a non-outlined five-step process: upsetting the equilibrium, analyzing the discrepancy, disclosing the clue to resolution, experiencing the gospel, and anticipating the consequences. The preference for eliminating propositional constructions may reflect a rejection of the ability to communicate propositional truth.
Application-Oriented Sermon Outline
A radically different form of outline from the traditional outline is the application-oriented outline. In an application-oriented sermon, the sermon points are statements of the behavioral change that the listener is being encouraged to make. The change in form is based on a change in the understanding of the purpose of preaching itself. Where previously the purpose of preaching was understood to be to transfer the content and structure of a passage to an audience, the innovation was to consider that the purpose of the sermon to change the behavior of the hearers of the message.