the shape of leadership

How to Preach a FAQ Series

Answer the questions your congregation members are asking

Chris Colvin on January 10, 2020

As a pastor, you probably hear a lot of questions. Your people look to you for advice and spiritual guidance. They also view you as a Bible expert. One-on-one conversations, emails and phone calls are usually the best ways to answer these questions. But don’t overlook your sermon as a tool to address the most frequently asked questions from your congregation.

Most pastors set a preaching calendar for the year every January. Yet many of the questions you get won’t fit neatly into any of the sermons you’ve scheduled. Perhaps you should consider setting aside a few weeks to tackle these topics.

Start With the Questions

It’s a great idea to a keep a running list of the best questions you field as a pastor. You probably won’t address all of them from the pulpit, but such a list can provide inspiration as you prepare messages.

Answering questions shows your congregation members you care about them. You took the time to listen and provide a thoughtful response. You even saw the value in talking to the whole church about it. This encourages people to be curious about the things of God — and to keep asking questions about important matters.

Get the Answers

A FAQ series may require more research than others, especially when people are asking questions about issues with which you are unfamiliar. Here are three things to keep in mind as you study and prepare your answers:

1. Make it biblical. You may want to preach a topical rather than an exegetical sermon. That way, you can talk about all the ways the Bible addresses this particular issue.

Some topics may not be covered directly in Scripture. In those cases, you’ll need to look for the applicable biblical principles. For instance, the Bible says nothing about marijuana. But it does say a lot about intoxication — and making choices that honor God.

A sermon that doesn’t include Jesus Christ at the center is just a nice talk.

2. Make it interesting. Don’t let your sermon become a lecture. No one is really interested in hearing you read off a list of facts or just repeat Bible verses.

As you cover each topic, add humor, drama and illustrations. Try to incorporate stories. Even statistics and figures can be intriguing if presented the right way. Lead your people on a journey from start to finish, showing how God’s truth applies to the real-life situations they are encountering.

3. Make it relevant. Answer the questions that relate to your church. You may find it interesting to study some minor theological question or obscure story. But will the rest of the church find it appealing?

One pastor I work with recently did a sermon on the differences between his church and Catholicism. This type of message was very relevant for his community given the number of ex-Catholics in the congregation. However, such a message might fall flat in other settings.

Think of all the ways a topic can be relevant to those listening. You may be answering one question, but the message can apply in different ways across a diverse congregation. Cast the net as wide as possible.

A good way to find a message’s relevance is by asking how your people can walk it out in their everyday lives. Ask yourself, What will they do with this information on Monday morning? Then weave that application throughout your sermon.

End on the Gospel

Now that you’ve got the question and answer, where is it going to lead you? As you look for the answers in Scripture, understand the purpose of the biblical text. It’s not just to answer our curiosities. It’s to point us somewhere. More specifically, it points to Someone: Jesus.

No matter the topic you’re preaching on, your sermon should end on the gospel. If you’re teaching about giving, tell your people how God gave His best in His Son. If you’re talking about marriage, point to a relationship with Christ as the pattern for all other relationships. If you’re speaking about addiction, focus on the Savior who breaks every chain.

A sermon that doesn’t include Jesus Christ at the center is just a nice talk. You might have answered a frequently asked question, but did you address the most pressing need? At the end of each message, if you have given people an opportunity to respond in a significant way to Christ, you’ve accomplished your objective.

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