One of the most exciting elements of preaching is seeing the result in the life and ministry of your church. Application of the Word is the component of the sermon that helps you take teaching and make it real in the lives of believers. A portion of your sermon preparation should be devoted to asking “what’s next” in the life of an attendee after they hear the message. Where do you begin looking for application?
Consider your church. Always have handy a short listing of your church’s key ministries and events. Sunday School, a food pantry, a school campus ministry, a prayer ministry, Vacation Bible School, a mission trip—any and all of these are application avenues that may apply to your Sunday message. Encourage attendees to plug-in to ministry within your own church as a way to apply a sermon.
Consider local needs. Your city’s economic and social challenges, cultural and ethnic groups within your reach, civic organizations from the Rotary Club to Little League, natural disasters or other tragedies on a family or city scale—all of these are also points of application, depending on the message. Think about ways your church can take the sermon out into their community this week.
Consider new opportunities. Perhaps God is using your teaching to start something new at your church. Is there a ministry that’s missing or an accessible group you’re not serving as a congregation? Your message may be a catalyst for God to develop leaders to form the foundation of a fresh opportunity.
Consider the mission. Perhaps the sermon is best lived-out beyond your borders. Heed the Matthew 28 call to “make disciples of all nations” as you look for application possibilities on local, national and international mission. Consider other organizations you can partner with—from churches to civic group to humanitarian aid groups and para-church organizations—that will help your congregation extend the reach of Christ as they apply His Word.
Author: Eugene Mason, Communications Director for Cross Pointe Church under the leadership of Dr. James Merritt.