Lifeway.com has a helpful article on sermon handouts. Some of the main points of Craig Webb’s article includes the following.
Good Uses/Benefits of a Sermon Handout
- It encourages people to participate and engage the sermon by writing something down. This is an added level of learning to your speaking and the visual images they see on your PowerPoint.
- It eases the tension of persons who were unfamiliar with the Bible and are afraid of the clumsiness of finding a particular Bible reference.
- It allows me to share different translations and paraphrases of familiar passages.
- It provides a take home reminder of the content of the sermon. Members and attenders can share these with family or co-workers. At one church I served, we provided notebooks for members to keep sermon notes.
Possible Abuses of the Sermon Handout
- Some persons who might have developed the skill of taking more detailed notes only filled in the blanks (often there is little room for other notes).
- Many people stopped bringing their Bibles to church.
- I got in a rut with how I did these outlines. My rut was three statements, which included fill-in-the-blanks, each followed by one or more printed scriptures.
Ideas for better handouts
- Provide an “answer key” at the bottom of the page.
- Present a questionnaire, checklist, or invitation.
- Use the back of your outline to provide practical guides, lists, or practical application suggestions from your sermon.
- Rather than fill-in-the-blanks, list the topic and leave some room for notes.