5 Sermon Starters from Your Own Life

Searching for a sermon idea? Here are five topical teaching areas that you can build a message from. All of them happen to stem from your own life experience:

Your salvation story. It always amazes me how few pastors regularly share their own salvation experience—some never share it. What was your life like before you came to Christ? How did you realize the need for Christ? How did you come to Christ and then how were you subsequently called by Christ into ministry? Are there ever times when you are unsure of your faith? If so, how do you deal with those? The answers to these questions are not only a great sermon, but will reach many people who are today where you were before you knew Christ.

Your marriage challenge. Some pastors keep their personal life personal. I want to encourage you to use challenges you have overcome as object lessons for other believers. What has happened in your relationship to your spouse recently that bears mentioning? Was there ever a time or a challenge in your marriage that hit you so hard you almost didn’t make it? What have you had to compromise on as a couple as you’ve grown to know each other? How do you grow spiritually and relate spiritually to your spouse? Your marriage is a great area to glean teaching.

Your first missions experience. I’m a missions minded guy, so if your first thought on this suggestion is that you’ve never been on a mission endeavor, I’d fix that deficiency immediately. For those that have traveled on mission, where did you go and what did you do? Did you have any preconceptions the first time out? What did God teach you? How has your missions experience changed how you preach and reach others back at home? You don’t have to wait for a “missions Sunday” to share how God worked in your life when you took time on mission to share Him in another culture and context.

Your parenting situation. Every parent wants to hear from their pastor some practical handles for their children or teenagers. Guess what? You don’t have to be an expert. Messy parenting is okay, as long as you are able to learn from it. And you can teach biblical principles for parenting as well as from practical experience. Passing on what you know and even what you would do differently is much desired teaching for other parents. There’s also the opportunity to relate your parenting to the Heavenly Father’s relationship with His children.

Your black sheep. Everybody has a few black sheep in their family. Yes, the ones who you only see at holidays, whose daily lives are a series of self-induced train wrecks. The object of teaching that uses “Cousin Fred” or “Carrie the Wayward Niece” as an example is to help the congregation realize that every family, every person, has warts. God uses us despite our imperfections. And God can take someone far from Him and use your own life and influence to draw them closer to Him and into a relationship with Him. I would do a Joe Friday here and change the names to protect identities. You’ll likely realize that you have true and interesting stories in your own family that are much stranger—and effective illustrations—than fiction.


Author: Eugene Mason, Communications Director for Cross Pointe Church under the leadership of Dr. James Merritt