Scholars frequently read the musings and teachings of the founders of the early church as they tried to answer their parishioners’ questions according to biblical principles.
Paul’s letters are printed correspondence helping the followers of the newly organized church understand the teachings of Jesus.
Just as those letters helped early Christians understand the faith, sermon collections take the words of modern pastors and compile them in an easy-to-read format to help scholars and parishioners deepen their understanding of the Christian faith.
And now, Christian self-publishing is easier than ever before.
Here are 5 tips for creating a sermon collection:
1. Determine the Audience
Will the sermon collection be given to parishioners, or will it be a tool used to draw new members into the church? When compiling a sermon collection, it is vital to know who the audience is so the best sermons for that audience can be printed.
Should the book feature sermons by multiple pastors or just one? Is it intended for reading by one church, the churches within a particular denomination, or all followers of Christ?
If the audience is parishioners, the pastor should feel free to include sermons where they have shared personal stories without a preamble. Sermons that heavily reference one pastor’s life experiences may need some warm-up if they are placed in a book for those outside the pastor’s home church. For example, someone who is not a parishioner might not be aware of a pastor’s ill child or widowed sister. Similarly, if ideas or traditions mentioned in the sermons are specific to a few denominations more explanation may be needed if the intended audience includes many or all Christian denominations.
If the book is for parishioners only, then a short run book printing should be enough copies for distribution. However, if the collection is intended to bring new members to the church and more sheep to the Shepherd, then a wider distribution network, such as a digital version, should be considered.
2. Decide What Sermons to Include
Once the audience is determined, decide on a theme for the collection. This can be a topic, speaker, timeframe, or anything else that connects the collected sermons, and all the sermons included should relate to the theme, even if only loosely. Ideally, sermons should be of similar length though an occasional short sermon or longer one won’t bother readers.
Use caution when including sermons with extremely diverse tones. If the majority of the sermons are hopeful and inspiring, a deep and potentially saddening sermon may not be a good choice to include in the collection. A variety of tones is acceptable, but if one sermon is significantly different in tone than the rest, it may be better to include that sermon in a more tonally appropriate compilation.
3. Edit the Sermons
The sermons may need minor tweaks to make them easier for readers to understand. A professional editor can do this but it can also be done by parishioners with experience in editing, such as teachers. Readability is the most important element of a sermon collection.
It is best for sermons with complex topics to be given in the most straightforward language possible. If the original sermon has words that are not commonly used or strings of complex sentences, consider simplifying it for the readers.
4. Decide How the Book is Divided
A sermon collection should be organized and include an index that informs the reader of that organization. Organizing a sermon collection by topic is an easy default for readers. Other divisions can be done as long as it is logical for the reader to navigate.
An organized collection accounts for readers skipping around within the pages and assures that sermons that build on other sermons have appropriate links, such as a footnote indicating the page of another mentioned sermon.
5. Get Assistance
Christian self-publishing can feel like an overwhelming task the first time one does it Many elements can be involved such as interior book design, custom book covers, and perhaps custom illustrations. Decisions will need to be made about the page size, color, and binding options.
InstantPublisher can help with all aspects of self-publishing a book. Call us today at 1-800-259-2592 for personalized assistance.