Having a theme to your sermons is a great way to make your message more memorable and arguably even more relatable. There are some simple and cost-effective techniques to bring your sermons to life and get people excited about your message!
Sam DeZeeuw: Jake, thanks for being here. I’m excited to have you on talking about sermon series because you are going to be using sermon series a lot here in the next few months.
Jake Wetterlin: I am. That’s a new territory for me for sure.
Sam DeZeeuw: Yeah. All right, so today let’s talk about a sermon series and how to bring those to life. One of the first things that we had talked about a little bit earlier is, um, using worship songs to try to emphasize what that message is about. You know, worship, I don’t want to say a lot of churches, but I’ve seen some churches kind of separate the message from the worship time and it really should all just be one experience and tying it all together. What do you think?
Jake Wetterlin: I absolutely agree. I think that having a mentality, if you’re part of the church staff, that if we’re all on the same team, we should be working together to tell one singular message. And I don’t think we should just depend on the pastor to preach that message.
Sam DeZeeuw: Right. That’s his job. But it’s all of our job.
Jake Wetterlin: Right. And I think it’s also important that, I mean, let’s say the pastor ends with a really powerful invitation, you know, to the altar and just lay this down. If you have a random worship song that’s not really related to what the pastor just laid down, it’s going to be kinda hard to be in prayer about that. But if you have a song that’s really hitting that home, that’s going to make that prayer time all the more powerful and invite people to come back and do that again.
Sam DeZeeuw: Yeah. And that actually reminds me, there was a, I think we actually did it at our church, where the sermon was about prayer and the last song, it was actually the song after the sermon right after the sermon, was a Hillsong song. Um, what was it? It was um…
Jake Wetterlin: “Touch the Sky?”
Sam DeZeeuw: “Touch the Sky!” So it’s all about, you know, getting on your knees and that’s when you touch the sky. Meaning, you know, you’re the closest with God when you are on your knees praying. And that’s, that’s the theme of that song. But it was also the theme of the message. So right, coming out of right out of the message, I could really feel the holy spirit moving because it’s like, you know, I, we just got deep talking about prayer and now it’s time for me to worship to this and actually practice this. Like, now’s my time to just get down and pray and worship God. So…
Jake Wetterlin: And not everyone knows how to pray or what to pray. So some of the songs will help them, like give words. What do I say to God? This will help me pray those things to God.
Sam DeZeeuw: Right. And a lot of worship songs are prayers. Like it’s us talking to God and like, not all of them, some are just about God’s glory, but some are like prayers, like, God help us with this. You know, God, we’re struggling. We need you. Um, you know, when, if grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking like right? We’re, we’re basically saying we can’t do this ourselves. God, we need your help. And using those songs as a prayer, um, I think really helps tie people who don’t know how to pray their prayer life into the message and that sermon series. So the next point that we wanted to bring up was, giving them something to walk away with. This is kind of more of a fun thing, but it’s also super powerful
Jake Wetterlin: And it doesn’t have to be metaphorical either. It can be physical, tangible things you can literally walk away right with.
Sam DeZeeuw: Yeah. And something we actually are doing right now currently at our church is we’re handing out a memory verses that people can bring home. Cause we’re in the book of Philippians right now and the pastors are really driving home memorizing parts of Philippians. And the best way to encourage people to do that is not to just say go home, memorize and good luck, but it’s actually sending them home with something saying here, here is a postcard that has that verse on it that we want to encourage everyone to read. Put this on your mirror, put it on your nightstand, whatever is going to remind you and giving them that physical thing. Right?
Jake Wetterlin: Yeah. I think that’s, that’s very powerful and I think it’s a good way to, to keep the message, not from just sticking on a Sunday morning, but to have it throughout the week. Uh, and it encourages people like, gosh, this was really great. I wonder what they’ll give us next Sunday. Right. Uh, one of the things that we’re doing, the future since we’re part of a creative team at our church and we discuss different ways that we can, um, make our church services more inviting. We’re doing a series on, board games and, we were thinking since one of them’s going to be sorry, we’re going to, collect a bunch of sorry pieces and we’ll give one to each member of the church. And so, you know, they can take that home and it’ll just be like a visible reminder. It’s not even spiritual, but just looking at that, Sorry piece will remind them. Oh, that was from that sermon series. Oh, that was a really good one that hit home. You know, so just having something visual and audible and something that you can touch really helps the message stick with you longer I think.
Sam DeZeeuw: And something we actually learned from that meeting when we decided, you know, let’s get like a little Sorry piece or something. We learned that this doesn’t have to be expensive. Like we were amazed by how cheap Sorry pieces were because what was it like a set of 30 was less than a dollar. I mean it was, it seemed like we were getting scammed or something. I don’t think we were, I would not see like that’s an amazing price. Yeah. But like going off of that one sermon I remember back in the day, I mean this was probably like a decade ago like I was young in our youth group, but I still remember it and it kind of goes along with that. Taking something home where it was all about God’s forgiveness and letting go of our sins. And they gave us this piece of rope where we could untie it. And we had like an untied rope. Like these sins aren’t holding us down anymore and they invited us to take that rope home. I’ll be honest, I have no idea where that rope is anymore. I mean, it’s a decade later. I didn’t save the rope, but I did save it in my mind. I still remember that sermon, which is the whole point of giving that rope.
Jake Wetterlin: I do too. I remember that.
Sam DeZeeuw: And that rope couldn’t have cost them. I mean, there were thousands of people there. It couldn’t have cost them more than $30 for a few things of that rope that they bought.
Jake Wetterlin: Yeah. Sometimes the more simple it is, the easier it is to remember it because it’s so simple.
Sam DeZeeuw: And I think it’s easy for us to get in this mindset where everything’s gotta be elaborate. Everything has to be like this big wonderful gift. But I mean, when you have a lot of people coming to your church, even if there’s like a hundred and you’re a smaller church you might not have the budget for this. But keeping it simple and maybe even it’s just a postcard and just giving them something to take home. I wouldn’t recommend always doing a postcard because I feel like that can get a little mundane. It’s like, oh, here’s another postcard. But doing that every once in a while just to encourage, you know, whatever it is. For us, it was memorizing scripture. Um, but I would recommend trying to get a little bit creative with this because the more creative you are and the more interaction that someone gets to have like the rope like we actually untied the rope ourselves. It was something that we could do that makes it much more memorable. So the last point is creating an experience as soon as they walk in those doors. Why do you think this is so important?
Jake Wetterlin: I think it’s important because, if we, again, like we said earlier, we touched on it a little bit, but if we, we depend solely on the pastor to give us the, the tone of, of what the message is, it’s going to be a lot harder for us to, to think about it, to remember it, to even prepare our minds for it. But if we come in and let’s say the church is decorated with, with the theme, for instance, I’ll just throw this out there. Maybe the theme is overcoming depression. What would certainly help someone get prepared for that message is maybe we’d have all the lights be blue. Uh, we have encouraging, notes that the church staff writes and we put all those sticky notes on the walls. Uh, we have all of the worship music, fit the theme of overcoming struggles, various various things that, that, bring the entire Sunday morning, uh, together, wrap it up with a bow, basically make it all consistent I think really brings it home that, you know, we’re all on the same page and we’re all trying to convey the same message.
Sam DeZeeuw: Yeah, and another idea, just piggybacking off of like that depression kind of series, if you had like your foyer or your atrium, whatever you call it, when you walk in and things are very blue and dark and then like you walk into this other area, maybe it’s like the smaller foyer going into the sanctuary, I don’t know, whatever it would be for you guys. You go into this other area and everything is bright and shining. Like it’s kind of that displaying, you know, you’re walking into depression, things are sad, but we’re taking you out of that. And then you’re like, here’s a message on writing, you know, overcoming depression and just creating that theme around what the sermon is about.
Jake Wetterlin: It’s not just a speech at that point. It’s a journey that you’re going through, literally.
Sam DeZeeuw: You’re creating a physical and yes, physical but kind of an emotional journey.
Jake Wetterlin: It’s almost as if we have to make sure that we touch as many of the five senses as we possibly can because the more you do that, the more memorable, the more powerful it will be.
Sam DeZeeuw: Yeah. I mean we even talked about that in the taking something home. It’s something tangible, something they can touch, but if it’s something that they can not just hear through the sermon, but they can touch, they can feel like they get to take something home, but we also touch on something that they can see and maybe even incorporate smells like Disney world does or they just push out the smells of cookies make you want to buy one, like I don’t know what it is, but just overloading all the senses and creating an awesome experience that captures the sermon series is really going to make this memorable and make people excited to come back next week. Ya know this is going to be a maybe at minimum two weeks sermon, maybe a four-week sermon, eight weeks sermon, get them excited to want to come back. And the last thing that I would say about that is we got to remember that these parents sometimes are very stressed. You know, they’ve got to get the kids out of bed, they’ve got to get them here on a Sunday morning in their nice dress clothes and you got to feed them, but you don’t want them to get their breakfast all over. Like they’re late, they’re just stressed people walking into the church building. But this is just something that like right when they walk into your foyer, your atrium, whatever you call it, again, that’s really going to start that experience for them and really get them excited because at that point they are stressed. And keeping that stuff in mind is also super important in creating that experience for them. We talk about worship leaders and their title is to lead worship, but really that’s, that’s all of our jobs. It’s our job to lead people into worship whether you are the worship leader or the pastor or the children’s minister.
Jake Wetterlin: Or just the people at the front door.
Sam DeZeeuw: Yeah, exactly. I mean, it is all our job to lead people into an attitude of worship on a Sunday morning or Saturday night or whenever you have your service. That is all of our jobs and that includes the time when they’re walking in the door. So like you said, those people at the front door.