Let me begin by saying that most of this is tongue-in-cheek. It’s a joke. So relax.
The first thing you need to do, if you want to develop a cool, modern sermon series is come up with a catchy title. You might think that the first thing you should do when considering a sermon series is look in the Bible, but that’s because you’re more concerned with truth and the valid application of God’s Word. That’s all well and good, but what WE want is something that looks cool on a T-shirt. In fact, if you can’t imagine the title of your series on an American Apparel hoodie, then you’re in the wrong ballpark. Try imagining the title projected across the back of a stage dimly lit by white Christmas lights, then you know you’re on the right track.
The title needs to be something that reaches out and grabs the listener. In fact, it should probably be focused on the listener entirely. None of this Gospel-driven stuff, let’s make sure we’re totally man-centered here. That’s how you grow a church, you know. One pastor described his approach to sermons by saying, “I start with me, then I move to them, then I move to God.” Yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s how Paul did it too. Besides, who wants to be bothered grounding our sermons in a single text or passage of Scripture? If we did that, then people would be able to go home and study it for themselves, and then maybe they wouldn’t need us.
The title of the series also needs to be relatable, so that we can instantly recognize why we might be interested in hearing a series of messages on it, but also vague enough that you won’t have to be bothered sticking to any particular passage or text of Scripture. Everybody knows that the more passages of Scripture you pull from in a single sermon, the more people will realize you know and have synthesized the Bible. (There’s a good title by the way, “Synthesize,” nobody will have any idea what it means.)
Let me give you an example. Let’s call our series “Balance.” That’s a catchy title, right? You can already see it screen printed across your deep v-neck t-shirt. What’s more, it’s compelling enough to draw people in, because who couldn’t use more balance in their lives, but also utterly vague. Balance what? My work? My family? What am I trying to balance? It doesn’t matter. You can fill in the rest of the series by talking about YOUR favorite topics and you don’t have to worry about any of that “rightly dividing the Word of truth” stuff.
But here’s the best part about doing a sermon series like this; you’ll sound totally new and fresh and wise, because you won’t be repeating any of that old, boring stuff we’ve heard in churches before. People will think you’re really deep because they’ve never heard anything like what you’re saying coming from a pulpit before (You’re not still using a pulpit are you?). Nobody wants to hear a sermon series on the book of Galatians when you can hear one called “In Over Our Heads.” Nobody wants to hear your vigorous defense of the faith, once for all passed down from the saints, when you can hear one called “Stuck.” It doesn’t matter that they have no idea what they’re “stuck” in, at least they don’t have to hear verse by verse exposition.