3 Sermon Series Lessons I Learned from TV Shows

I like TV shows much better than movies! It was not always this way but currently we are in the golden age of TV. I might find five movies every year that I really like but with Netflix and Amazon Video to go along with the broadcast networks I found countless TV shows that spike my interest every year.

One of the strong points of modern TV is the captivating storytelling and overarching themes of the whole season and series not just barely related episodic content.

Because of this I have learned some lessons that have helped me form and preach sermon series better.

Here are some of those lessons:

Cliff Hanger or Intriguing End Each Week

One of the modern developments of modern TV shows because of Netflix and other streaming services is “binge watching”. That is where the viewer watches a whole season or series in a short amount of time. One of the major catalysts for people to do this is creative cliff hangers and intriguing ends to episodes.

Likewise, we can do this in our sermon series. If we think of each individual sermon as an episode in the series then we need to try and leave something that piques that audiences attention for the next episode or sermon. That can be many things. Be as creative as possible.

Building Plot Points

A cool thing about TV series is that you can see plot points build in each episode, season, and throughout the whole series.

We can do this in sermon writing as well. We can help people develop Biblical plots and content by presenting it in intriguing and relevant ways. If you are teaching a series on one of Paul’s letters you can build the plot points of the context and the real issues that those churches were dealing with.

Try to build the plot piece by piece throughout your sermon series.

Developing Characters

The best TV shows develop characters and character development the most interesting part of the shows I like. You get to see a character go from one place in season one episode one to something completely different by episode six and something completely different from that in the fifth season. Some development is positive or negative in linear fashion and some development is completely non-linear.

One of the cool things about the Bible is that we have a treasure trove of character material to work with. In your sermon series, week to week, episode to episode show your audience the development of the true people in God’s Great Story.

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Written by Joe Hoagland

Joe is a pastor at Rise Church in Marion, Oh. He is married to his awesome wife Jenna and they have one daughter Aryella.

He loves to lead people to Jesus and preach God's word.

You can often times find Joe hiking, camping, writing, reading, or enjoying technology.


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