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As a pastor your main goal is following God and what He wants you to do. After that you probably want to reach as many people in the congregation as you can with a touching message, right? I promise that if you seek God first for that message that those people who need reaching will indeed be met by the Word – although this you already know. However, I would like to encourage you to check out the following sermon illustrations that typically always work to reach people:

1) That Mighty Mustard Seed

If there is one thing in life that is a common factor among people, it is that throughout life hardships are experienced; mountains block and cause discouraging scenarios. When people are stuck in dark and discouraging moments in life their faith will get tested to a certain point. Their faith may waver and feel like isn’t very strong at all. I love the reference in the Bible of the mustard seed: in Matthew 17:20 Jesus says, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” I feel many people can relate to this because in trying times that is exactly how faith can feel: as small as a mustard seed. The good news is that tiny little itty bitty amount of faith is still enough to move the mountains that are in the way! Hallelujah!

2) Courage in the Chaos

The world is a scary place – so full of sin and sickness. The enemy sets out to defeat Christians and uses fear as a strong tactic. Bravery and courage is a must when fighting the good fight in life. Any sermon touching on the courage that God gives us will be a sermon people will relate to. People like to know they aren’t walking through life alone – and Joshua 1:9 says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” This is such a reassuring verse – that no matter where we walk or what we walk in, we can be brave because God walks alongside us!

3) God’s Lengthy Love

In a world of hatred, bitterness, and judgement where true love is rare it is important that people are reminded of God’s unconditional love. People crave to be accepted, to be cherished, to be – LOVED. It is vital to remind the congregation that they have a Father in Heaven who accepts, longs for, and is jealous for them. Not only are people receptive to being reminded about God’s love for them but this is a necessary truth that is worth reminding about.

4) Fullness in Forgiveness

Being that people are sinful creatures, sin is another commonality amongst members of congregations. Any sermon preaching the truth that sin can be made white as snow through forgiveness in regards to Isaiah 1:18 will hit home with the majority of the people. If anything, many people are either dealing with the guilt of sin they commited or they are dealing with the bitterness or resentment towards someone else for a sin committed against them. While it is important for people to ask for God’s forgiveness, it is also important to be able to accept this gift of forgiveness and not carry around the guilt from the act commited. In turn, to be able to forgive others for acts commited against them and release these foes brings freedom from resentment and bitterness. There is such freedom in forgiveness that people can’t help but be excited!

5) Selfless Serving

While participating in this thing called life, not only do people like to be equipped with the strategies listed above to help them live instead of survive, but they like to know they are doing their part to make the world a better place. A reminder of the servanthood path that Jesus lived out is great encouragement to others. With Jesus as the role model of serving and the reminder that we are also servants of God, people can turn from being frustrated with their roles in life to excited to make a difference in the world. The calling of being a servant of God is such a high calling. It is through joyful serving that others will be able to see the face of Christ. The congregation can be apart of applying love and truth to the world!

Sermons that work to move and reach congregations are sermons that contain a topic that is a matter of the heart. Sermons on little faith, courage, God’s love, forgiveness, and serving are all sermons that people can relate to and apply to their lives.

J. Allen has a heart for reaching today’s youth. He is a teacher, coach, and sports advocate. He also writes from deep in the wilderness for Lights UP North, a source of encouragement and inspiration.


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