‘Sermon Tree’ digital magazine innovates for preachers

SermonTreeLogoMCCRORY, Ark. (BNc) — Working ministers must craft approximately 104 sermons, 52 Bible classes, and often 52 Wednesday night devotionals, all while tending to personal Bible studies, home and hospital visits, funerals, weddings, and other happenings that crop up. It can be a challenge at times to keep sermons fresh.

One minister and publisher has designed a subscription-only digital publication called SermonTree.com to help preachers stay energized. The magazine offers a monthly downloadable, printable digest of sermon outlines, sermon seeds, illustrations, humor, and short devotional talks to inspire study and preaching for an entire month.

“In the best case scenario, preachers have a few sermons prepared well ahead of time in case of emergency, but the best case scenario often doesn’t match up with reality,” said SermonTree.com publisher Matt Clifton, who also publishes the Bulletin Digest. “And sometimes our preaching just gets a little stale, and we need some outside perspective on preaching and teaching to invigorate our own studies.”

That’s where SermonTree.com comes in. The digital magazine features 10 to 12 sermon outlines each month, varying in detail.

Preachers can take these outlines and develop their own lessons, use them as-is, or simply use them as a jumping-off point for personal studies and Bible classes. Most of the outlines contain appropriate illustrations, and each sermon also has a list of song suggestions to go with the lesson. The outlines are also offered in an “organic outline” format for ease of reading and adaptation to the preacher’s own use.

“Plus, if you find yourself having to get a devotional talk together at the last minute, SermonTree.com also has “sermon seeds,” which are very brief outlines from which to develop your own lessons, and short devotional talks that would be appropriate for Wednesday night use,” Clifton said.

Those interested in seeing this concept in action can visit SermonTree.com and download a free sample issue.

With various sermon outlines available from a variety of sources on the internet, one might wonder why a subscription service like SermonTree.com is needed.

“Most of the outlines you find on the internet are the same ones you’ve been using for years,” Clifton commented. “SermonTree.com offers fresh material each month. And it’s not just outlines. We offer a complete toolbox for the working preacher to help craft powerful Biblical sermons, all from writers with a biblical understanding of the church and salvation.”

SermonTree.com also has feature stories on evangelism techniques, topics of interest for preachers, book reviews, and more.

An innovative approach to its sermon outlines is the use of an organic style in organization, rather than the usual numerical-alphabetical outline.

Who writes the material in SermonTree.com? Clifton, who preaches for the church of Christ at McCrory, Ark., develops most of the sermons in the magazine, but also accepts and publishes sermon outlines and articles from other preachers.

“We’ve had several great sermons and articles contributed by other brethren, and we’d like to have more sermon outlines and stories on successful evangelism techniques submitted to us for publication in the future,” he said. “The goal for SermonTree.com is to have a publication that prints the very best original sermon outlines of preachers of the church of Christ.”

If you are a preacher and would like to submit an article or sermon outline for publication, please contact SermonTree.com by using the form on the “About” page at the website.

Missionary takes a licking two days in a row, on third day he licks

JOÃO PESSOA, Brazil (BNc) by Jeremy Newlin — There are days that will stand out in your mind for weeks, some, for months or even years. Other stories may live on through your children and grandchildren, and still other stories may die with you. I don’t know which category this story will fall into but I do hope you enjoy it. Don’t feel bad if you laugh. I did.


Jeremy Newlin and family

Jeremy Newlin and family

A couple of weeks after arriving back in Brazil, I took our car to the mechanic. It was a rainy day; we had a hard rain early on and then it began to taper off. I was at the mechanic, and I went walking to buy a part for the car.

There is no sidewalk. I was walking along the side of the road, just off to the edge to stay out of the way of the cars. Because of all the rain there were some puddles of water in my path. I came upon one puddle that I did not want to step in so I stepped into the road where there was a wet board leaning up against the curb (a curb with no sidewalk, mind you). I slipped on the wet board. Continue reading

Elba Church Feeds the Hungry

by Glenda Williams, BNc correspondent

ELBA, Ala (BNc) — For years, the church in Elba, Alabama had a small pantry housed in a closet, but they were never able to feed the hungry as they do now.

Recently the church built a family-life annex complete with a spacious kitchen and dining area, classrooms, restrooms, and a large pantry. Located right behind the church building, the annex is convenient to the offices of the church’s minister and secretary. Although the new construction allowed them to continue dispensing food from the pantry to the hungry who came seeking, it didn’t take long for the church members to see the need to step up their efforts in feeding the hungry. Continue reading

Five baptized at county jail

by Glenda Williams, BNc correspondent

GENEVA, Alabama (BNc) — “Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom before you can come back up,” is a statement  made about people on the wrong pathway in life.  That statement often explains the position of those confined in the local county jail. 

On Thursday evenings a group of men from the church in Geneva goes into the jail for Bible study with the inmates. As a result of those Bible studies, five men were baptized Thursday morning, October 7. Continue reading

New Cookie Ministry is hit

by Glenda Williams, BNc correspondent

GENEVA, Alabama (BNc) — This author began a cookie ministry last week.  Let me explain.

“Old-Timey Tea Cakes” was the recipe that caught my attention and I made a batch. With four cups of flour, one and three-fourths cups of sugar, two sticks of butter and a few more ingredients, in a little over an hour I had 96 tea cakes that didn’t need to stay in our house. I decided out the door they would go as we visited different people on our Tuesday day of visiting.

My friend suggested a dozen would be a nice number of cookies to give each family.

The packaging was simple. I recycled my small gift bags with the colorful tissue paper. The cookies were placed in a new zip-lock bag and dropped gently into the bags. They were well received. Continue reading

Donnie Vick works with Purcellville church

by Laura S. Tinnel

Donnie and Stephanie VickiPURCELLVILLE, Va. (BNc) — Jan. 24 was a momentous day of firsts in northern Virginia. That Sunday morning Donnie Vick stepped into the pulpit in Purcellville to begin his first full-time ministry as a preacher in the Lord’s church. That same day, the 11-year-old local congregation heard a sermon from its first full-time preacher.

When Vick and his wife Stephanie arrived at their new home just two days prior, they were greeted by excited adults and teens of the congregation who assisted in moving their belongings. They presented the Vicks with a pantry stocked with dry goods and gift cards to get them started in their new home. Continue reading

Partner with BNc

Peter’s charge has always been a favorite of mine: “Love the brotherhood” (1 Peter 2:17b). The word brotherhood is a collective term, denoting the whole. We are brothers and sisters in Christ, individually. Together, we are brotherhood.

Hence, the only two times the word is used, both by Peter, it is upheld by fraternal and sacrificial love and solidarity with like-minded believers in suffering for the kingdom, firm in faith, resisting every effort of the devil to pull us away from our commitment to Christ (1 Peter 5:9). It bespeaks an awareness of and appreciation for a suffering, engaged and dedicated brotherhood.

To further that awareness and to cultivate that solidarity, BNc was born. And as a part of that mission, we invite you to partner with BNc. Continue reading