What do you think about sermon titles? Are they needed or just a poor excuse for the preacher to show off his latest alliteration or attempt to tie into the contemporary culture?
Recently, I came across a post discussing the merits of sermon titles. It got me to thinking about the area that is likely my greatest weakness, homiletically speaking.
To me, it’s my sermon on Proverbs 9:10 and that’s how I will always remember it. Do those in the audience remember it by the title?
Do you even look at the title in the bulletin?
Off the top of my head, I can only remember the titles of 3 sermons:
- Too Important to Let Slide (on the perils of legalism)
- Ten Shekels and a Shirt (by Paris Reidhead about selling out God for the sake of ministerial success)
- Hell’s Best Kept Secret (by Ray Comfort on the use of the law in evangelism)
For you preacher types …
- How much energy do you put into the sermon title?
- Do you tie it to the text, your topic, your conclusion, or none of the above?
- Does your title make sense before or after the sermon, if at all?
I’m thinking you don’t want to promise too much in the title and you can probably wear out the audience by striving for a provocative title each and ever week.
Does it make a difference to you in the pew whether or not a sermon has a title?
I tend to preach inductively, so I’m hesitant to reveal too much in the title anyway.
Every once in a blue moon I feel I’ve struck gold with my sermon title, but more often than not I’m afraid it’s a dud where I’ve followed tradition in thinking I have to have one.
Can you share any particularly good or bad sermon titles?
(I guess that makes them memorable either way, so that’s saying something at least.)