How To Make A Visionary Sermon

How To Make a Visionary Sermon

We have been considering how to use some new maps, or organizing principles for your sermon.  Here’s the first post in this series.  Below is the image that lists the various kinds of maps that are discussed in Kenton Anderson’s book, Choosing To Preach.   In this post we are going to look at how to make a visionary sermon for your church.

 Note that the visionary sermon is on the deductive side of the image, which means that it will appeal to ideas, but it is also on the affection, or feeling side of the map as well.  So the visionary sermon appeals to the person’s feeling, but it is feeling based on the hearer’s experience.

The Visionary Sermon Described

Here is how Anderson describes the visionary sermon:

Like an artist, the visionary preacher crafts the sermon into a compelling picture of truth. (p 211)

You will find visionary sermons in a variety of kinds of churches, but usually they are sermons that are on a growing trajectory.  Anderson says that you find them a great deal in emerging churches, or churches that are just starting out.  They tend to be attractive to a younger audience, who want sermons that challenge and attract.  However, the visionary sermon is not limited to those groups or only to emerging churches.

When Visionary Sermons are Needed

The church I served in California went through 2 building programs before engaging in a six and a half year relocation project.  During those six + years we needed to raise a lot of money.  We also needed to keep the congregation engaged in a process that created a great deal of upheaval as we sold our facility and moved into a temporary warehouse for 2 and a half years.  As a result, I often preached series of sermons that were visionary in nature.  I did sermons on stewardship,  encouraging people to give to the building fund.  Sermons encouraging people, drawing pictures of what the future would look like were necessary for a weary people.  I remember one such series on the book of Ezra that I titled, God Goes Along.

So it is important to know how to make a visionary sermon if you: are in a church that is going through a transition; are in a newer church that has a younger average age; are in a time of growth.

Vision Pictures Needed

As I was writing this post, I remembered an event that told me that the church will repeatedly need this kind of sermon.  Our church had reached a pretty significant milestone.  We had topped 1000 people that we ministered to on a weekend.  Once per year we had a retreat for all the elders, deacons and staff.  On the retreat that year, shortly after we reached the goal we had set a few years earlier for attendance, I directed everyone into small groups, and assigned them an area of ministry to focus on.  I directed them to reflect on all the changes that we experienced, and then to imagine what that area of ministry would like when we got to 2000 people.

We gathered together as a whole group for reports.  The first small group reported that they really didn’t want to go to 2000.  The people, they felt, were happy at the size we were at.  The second group agreed with the first.  At that moment I knew that we were facing a crisis of vision.  I threw out the plan for our days together, and instead we began to pray for God’s direction for the church.  Our new facility sat in one of the fasted growing areas of the country, with thousands of new people in our ministry area.  What did God want for us?

We decided to move on toward 2000!  And I formulated another series of visionary messages for the congregation.


A visionary sermon is not just about buildings, or about the vision for the church.  It is best used anytime you want to create a picture of a preferred future.  Remember, it’s about creating pictures.

So, you see, you need to know how to make a visionary sermon for your congregation.  There will be a variety of times when such a sermon will be needed.  How do you do that?  That is a subject for the next post.  In the meantime, here is a video of a visionary sermon.   T.D. Jakes preached a sermon years ago calling his people to see a new vision of the future.