Writing Messages

I spent most of yesterday working on a message I will be giving to my home church’s Junior High ministry. It is about Elijah and the 450 Prophets of Baal. The message is entitled “Showdown on Mount Carmel” and I will have the students whistle the typical Western music that accompanies any shootout (I tried typing it out here, but it just looked like a jumble of letters).

While working on this message, I realized that I have a very precise way of formatting my message outline. Here is a sample of my formatting:



Big Idea

Date Written

Date Given




Body of Outline (Headings, verses, and tips)




I have always forced myself to write message outlines like this. I almost never write out a manuscript, but always an outline. The outline helps me organize my thoughts, while serving as my only form of notes during my message. My reasoning for precise formatting may be a slight case of OCD, but more likely it is because I want to instantly recognize who, what, and where I gave this message when I look back at the files. After a few years in ministry, it is inevitable to talk about the same passage/topic more than once. Because of meticulous formatting, I can quickly find any previous outline related to the passage, thus avoiding redoing work. Plus, you can make sure you did not give a similar message to a group two years in a row!


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