How To Keep Your Sermon Structure Simple & Sexy

Simple. I’ve lost count of how many times that word has been used to describe my sermons. I’m still not sure if it’s a compliment or not, but I know why they say it. Every one of my sermons follows the same structure.

It’s called the CPD hierarchy. It’s not rocket science and you may even do it naturally, but the CPD hierarchy will make sure you communicate with maximum effectiveness every time. I use it to structure my sermons, essays and answers to questions. I’ve even used it for this blog post.

It looks a little something like this:

Concept- The concept is your big idea. For a sermon, this is the one thing you want people walking away with. Or for a question, this is the big problem you’re trying to answer.

Principles- These are the main points that your big idea is built upon. Think of them as columns; without your Principles the Concept comes crumbling down. In a sermon, these would be your main points that demonstrate the truth of your big idea. Or for a question, these are the key areas you need to ‘unpack’ in order to answer the question effectively.

Details- Each Principle is made up of a number of Details. Rather than being the columns (like the Principles are), the Details are the bricks and mortar. In a sermon, these would include the verses, explanation, illustration and application for each point you’re trying to make.

In essence, what the CPD hierarchy does is give you a structure that helps people follow the logic of what you’re saying. Structured like this it also makes sure that everything you say is relevant and contributes to your big idea.

When preaching, I tend to introduce my Concept first, flag two or three Principles so that people know where I’m going, and then one Principle at a time, bury down into the Details.

Question: Do you have your own framework? How else would you use the CPD hierarchy? Leave a comment by clicking here.


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *