Sermonette Guidelines

General Guidelines for Giving Sermonettes

1. Select positive, uplifting, inspiring subjects that excite you and will interest the audience!

If the speaker is not interested, no one will be!  If you pick topics that excite and intrigue you, it will come out!

2. Write your sermonette “on your knees.”

We are not here to promote our own ideas – we are here to be a vehicle for God’s ideas.

3. Aim for CLARITY.

When you are finished, ask yourself, “Does the audience know what my point was?”  If the only way you can describe your sermonette is, “I talked about law/grace/forgiveness/overcoming,” then it was not clear or focused enough!

4. Be focused!

Prepare thoroughly but do not cram all your material into one sermonette.  Due to the short time you have, learn to focus on one aspect of a topic.  Do not preach on the entire topic of prayer, for example.  Rather, focus on one aspect of effective prayer, such as being fervent in prayer.  Or, in other cases, focus on inspiring examples of God’s way working: i.e., an unusual healing, a family blessed for saving third tithe, etc.

5. Select topics that can be discussed in a short time.

Some topics–for example, difficult scriptures–lend themselves to the shorter time frame of sermonettes.

6. Avoid corrective topics.

Unless specifically instructed by the Pastor, sermonette men should avoid corrective topics.  Why?  Sermonettes are extremely time-limited.  And correction often needs a broader context and explanation to make it palatable and understandable to those for whom it is intended.  Thus, correction is better suited for the greater time-period of sermons from the Pastor.

7. Avoid controversial topics.

The Church makes no stand on political issues from the pulpit.

8. Avoid judgmental or negative references to other COG groups in sermonettes.

“Vigorously discuss doctrine,” as we have heard Mr. Meredith say, but stay away from derogatory remarks about other groups.  A sermonette assignment is not the time to ponder others’ conversion!

9. Make it practical.

A sermonette which has practical application to the membership has great value.

10. Avoid promoting personal opinions or ideas, as if they were doctrine.

A speaker in the Church of God has to be very careful not to teach as doctrine what is not found in Scripture.  The Bible is the standard of doctrine—not our own ideas or opinions.

11. Limit references to three to five Scriptures.

Turning or referring to 7 to 17 Scriptures in 10 to 12 minutes is impossible if you explain each of them thoroughly!  Refer to fewer scriptures and really flesh them out—with examples, anecdotes, quotes, interesting current events.  Anyone can look up a list of scriptures in a concordance—the sermonette time is not practice in looking up a list of scriptures!

12. Limit your time to 10-12 minutes.

Mr. Meredith has encouraged us to limit our sermonette time, to ensure that a Pastor has enough time to develop his message, which is the main dish of spiritual food on the Sabbath.  Keeping a sermonette to time shows humility and ability to follow direction.  These are both important to functioning in the government of the Church today, and working under Christ in His Kingdom in the future!

After delivering a sermonette, check yourself against the following checklist:

1. What really was my focus?  Why was I speaking?  Why was this point important?

If I do not know, how would the audience have known?

2. Could I summarize my point in one sentence (Specific Purpose Statement)?

If not, my point was not clear.

3. Did I doggedly stick to my real focus during the whole sermonette?

Or did I give vague ideas and random thoughts?

4. Did I see confused looks on the faces of the audience?

If they looked confused, they probably were confused!

5. If I were to ask the audience what my point was, what would they say?

Would they say the point I intended, or something totally different?

6. Would the audience describe my message as “dull, cloudy, ambiguous, full of circular reasoning” or “distinct, easily perceived, free from obscurity?”

The ultimate test of my effectiveness as a speaker is whether or not I got the point across in the minds of the audience.  That’s where I pass or fail!

Sample Sermonette Topics

Difficult Scripture Types

Gen. 1:30 Should we be vegetarians?
Gen. 2:17 Explain “in that day”
Gen. 3:15 Explain “It shall bruise your head, you shall bruise his heel.”
Gen. 5:24 Explain how Enoch “was not found”
Gen. 9:3 Does this disprove “unclean meats?”?
Gen. 9:24 Why did Noah curse Canaan?
Gen. 14:18 Who was Melchizedek?
Gen. 17:10 Just a token of the covenant?
Matt. 1:18-20 Holy Spirit member of the Trinity?
Matt.  3:11 What is the “baptism by fire”?
Matt. 3:17 Was this the Father speaking?
Matt. 4:17 How was the Kingdom”” “at hand”?
Matt. 5:32 Explain the word “fornication” here
Matt. 11:12 What does it mean for the kingdom to suffer violence?

Christian Living Types

Why do we sing songs at services?
Why do we ask a blessing on the meal?
How to count the cost
How to “remember Lot’s wife”
How to fast
How to prepare for the Sabbath
How to study the Bible
Honesty and keeping our word
What is meditation?
Should we “recite the “Lord’s Prayer”?”
What is the proper position for praying?  Does it matter?
Praying for the sick
Pray for world leaders
What does it mean to “”pray without ceasing?””?
Analysis of a parable
A foot washing attitude
Laying down life for a friend
Explain why we do not eat pork
Explain why we are not vegetarians
Why do we not keep Christmas?
Why do we not keep Easter?
Why first tithe? second tithe? third tithe?
Why do we not speak in tongues?
Godly sorrow versus worldly sorrow
One of the parts of the armor of God
One of the fruits of the spirit
Think on these things (Phil. 4:8)
Providing for our house (I Tim. 5:8)

Historical/Analogy Types

Characteristics of salt (we are compared to it)
Characteristics of water (Holy Spirit)
Characteristics of an ambassador (we are ambassadors for Christ)
Characteristics of a lamb (Christ, the Lamb of God)
Characteristics of a mustard seed
Characteristics of a servant (we are the servants/bond slaves of God)
Characteristics of light (light symbolizing good, darkness symbolizing evil – John 3:19)
Characteristics of a bride (we are the bride of Christ, individually, collectively)
Characteristics of a living sacrifice (Rom. 12:1)
Characteristics of leaven, as sin
Characteristics of a building (Christ chief cornerstone, of the Church)
Characteristics of a temple (our body and the Church is the temple of God)
Background of person of Bible – David
Background of person of Bible – Samson
Background of person of Bible – Paul
Background of person of Bible – Peter
Background of person of Bible – Jesus Christ
Background of person of Bible – Gideon
Background of person of Bible – Joshua

Technical/Definition Types

Meaning of the word for “baptism” (baptizo)
Meaning of the word for “spirit” (pneuma)
Meaning of the different words for “love”
Meaning of the word “character”
Explanation of the personal pronoun for Holy Spirit (should be “it” not “He”)
Explanation of the word “unworthily” (I Cor. 11:27)
Explain the “fear and trembling” in Phil. 2:12.  Are we to be scared of God?
Youth-oriented Type sermonette
Following the Father’s footsteps
Heroes of the Kingdom
Building a good foundation for the future
Supporting your family
How to treat your siblings
“He who is faithful in little will be in much”
Importance of time (avoiding procrastination)
Investing in education
Avoiding the pulls of the flesh
Resisting peer pressure
Lessons from Daniel
Lessons from Samson
Lessons from David
Lessons from Timothy
Lessons from Ruth
Lessons from Esther


What is a foot-washing attitude?
What is humility?
Have you forgiven your neighbor?
How to go to your brother
Why is Christ compared to a lamb?
Characteristics of a living sacrifice (Rom. 12:1)
Characteristics of a lamb (Christ, the Lamb of God)
How to become a lamb and not a goat (Matt 25)
Importance of Jesus’ sacrifice
Ceremony of sacrifices in Old Testament
Explanation of word “unworthily” (I Cor. 11:27)

Unleavened Bread

How do we de-leaven our homes?
How to come out of sin
Resisting sin
Words for “sin” in Scripture, and their meanings
Characteristics of leaven, as sin


Why is the Holy Spirit compared with wind?
Why is the Holy Spirit compared with fire?
Why is the Holy Spirit compared with water?
Why is the Holy Spirit compared with oil?
Characteristics of a temple (our body and the Church is the temple of God)
Should we speak in tongues?
Historical background of harvests (first fruits harvested at Pentecost)
Explanation of the personal pronoun for Holy Spirit (should be “it” not “He”)
Matt. 3:11 What is the “”baptism by fire?””

Feast of Trumpets

How will it feel to be “changed”?
How to be at peace with our family members
Rooting out anger (the spirit of war)
Description of the blowing of the trumpet in O.T. times (historical)
Gen. 5:24 Explain how Enoch “was not found”— did he go to heaven?
Are there saints in heaven already?  (Explaining the resurrection)
Matt. 11:12 What does it mean— for the Kingdom to suffer violence?

Day of Atonement

Discuss the meaning of the word “Azazel”
Discuss one of the devices of Satan
Why is Satan compared to a “roaring lion”?
How is Satan a deceiver?
How do we become “at one” with our neighbor?
How to fast

Feast of Tabernacles

What will your city be like?
How to rejoice during the Feast
How to share with others during the Feast
How to be a light during the Feast
What will it be like to be a teen in the millennium?
Young heroes for God’s Kingdom
How to benefit from spiritual meat (studying and praying during FOT)
How to get the most out of the messages
The importance of fellowship at the Feast
Infrastructure of society during the Millennium

Last Great Day

Hope for your relatives
Taking care of strangers (to prepare to serve the billions)
Infrastructure of society during the Last Great Day
What will be the first thoughts of those resurrected to physical life?
Analysis of scripture of a child living 100 years
Why will Gog and Magog fight against God?

Offertories (any Holy Day):

Giving cheerfully, happily
Being generous
Giving according as you are able
Counting your blessings
Giving for the Work

Other general thoughts on Sermonettes:

Sermonettes help set the tone for the rest of the service. If sermonettes are organized and inspiring, they set a positive tone; if they are long and boring or too esoteric, they set a negative tone.  Sermonettes should be 10-12 minutes in length—occasionally a few minutes longer.  Sermonettes that go overtime upset the schedule for the rest of the service. In order to stay within this time limit, topics should be selected that can be covered in this time frame.

Topics need to be focused—and this will take effort and discipline. A sermonette on prayer will need to focus on one aspect of prayer (being fervent, being thankful, etc). One to three scriptures should be selected that amplify the point that the speaker wants to make. Referring to eight to ten scriptures in a sermonette simply means the speaker has not focused his topic enough. A personal example could also be used to illustrate a point. Without personal examples, the sermonette can become simply an academic matter with no personal touch. One or two suggestions can be included to show the listening audience how to apply what they are hearing.

Sermonettes should not be corrective, controversial or doctrinally speculative, nor should the speaker use examples that will be off-color or embarrassing to the audience.  Speakers should strive to inform and inspire their listeners with practical and doctrinally sound information. Sermonettes on important aspects of doctrine should be covered once a year so vital information is not forgotten.  Subjects for sermonettes will come from regular Bible study and from listening to the concerns of the congregation that the speaker serves. Individuals asked to give sermonettes should be converted individuals who are good examples in the congregation, and who practice what they preach.

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