The mechanics of archery sets forth a precise sequence of steps to launch an arrow to a target. If the target is at some distance, one must aim high so that the arrow follows a precise arc in order to reach and hit the target. Without following the sequence of steps the mechanics of archery describes, failure is almost certain.
A gospel message should be constructed as a gospel arrow fired at the human heart. Further, gospel archery mechanics outlines a precise sequence of steps for launching gospel arrows into human hearts. As a result, gospel arrows follow a precise path involving a specific sequence of actions from preacher or evangelist to human hearts.
As noted in the previous post (click here), a gospel message “should be a discourse that exhibits singleness of aim, and converging progress towards an outward practical end” (W.G.T. Shedd, Homiletics and Pastoral Theology, 146). That is, a gospel message should be constructed as a gospel arrow. Following the archery analogy, we should think sequence. Shedd offers the critique “that sermons are more defective in respect to unity of structure, and a constant progress towards a single end, than in any other respect” (Ibid., 147).
Unity of structure depends upon having a single aim, one objective, or main point. Constant progress toward this single end requires a sequence of thought. In other words, a gospel message constructed as a gospel arrow leads us to the idea of a sequential outline. When Haddon Robinson introduced the concept of a sequential outline at a preaching conference at RPTS in May of 1991, he urged those of us attending to give it a try. Once back in my home congregation, I determined to follow Haddon Robinson’s advice. The response of the congregation was positive. Sermons became more like gospel arrows. Impact seemed to improve.
Are there other methodologies? Yes! Is God pleased to use other methodologies and bring about conversions and positive fruit? Yes, indeed. I myself used a far different approach for quite a number of years. But an important question remains. Do we want to improve and advance in the skill of preaching and evangelism? If there is a process, an approach, a methodology that takes us forward in the great work of evangelism and preaching, shouldn’t we give it some consideration? Shouldn’t we do our best in the work of gospel proclamation?
Gospel messages should be constructed as gospel arrows. As Haddon Robinson puts it, “A sermon should be a bullet, not buckshot” (Biblical Preaching, 35). A sequential outline aims the bullet, aims the gospel arrow, at the heart. Following through on this sequence means hitting the target. And by the grace of God, the result is death to the old man and new life in Christ.