Adapting an Online Message for Your Church


Pastors Edge is among several sermon resources available online. Our goal is to give you as a pastor excellent, biblical, timely content that can be adapted to your preaching style and congregation. Because of widely varied education, experience and preparation time among the thousands of Pastors who prepare a weekend message, sermons from expositors like Dr. Merritt make fantastic reference and outline material from which to create your own sermon. Here are a few tips.

Read the sermon all the way through first. Make notes as if you were listening to the sermon yourself as part of a congregation. Don’t start editing or inserting your own thoughts and materials just yet—take a little time to absorb where God was leading the author and the biblical teaching and application that is drawn in the original version.

Personalize the introduction. Many of Dr. Merritt’s messages contain great introductory illustrations, but always feel free to personalize the introduction to best connect with your audience. Think about similar experiences, current local news items or happenings within your own congregation that could replace or augment the introductory portion of the message.

Understand the key points. A sermon should accomplish a purpose—communicating clearly a biblical truth and/or application. You may adjust the wording, order or structure of the sermon’s key points, but make sure they are clear, concise and stand out in your presentation.

Apply it to your church. Look for ways to apply the message to your own congregation. Is there a ministry or opportunity that your members and guests can be involved in that will help them apply what you are teaching? If not within your own church, how about locally in your community? Look for ways to communicate a “next step” for those who are hearing your words.

Dress rehearsal. Pastors prepare to teach in different ways. Some approach the pulpit with a broad outline and can speak “off the cuff” quite well. Others craft a meticulous word-for-word message and even rehearse it ahead of time. When teaching from someone else’s sermon material, it’s best to rehearse it in advance—stand in your study, at your pulpit or another private place and say the message through out loud. This will help personalize the message to you—moving it from re-teaching someone else’s thoughts to owning the message in your own words.

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