Introductions and Conclusions.
So I want to just add this little bit about introductions and conclusions, but I have to say I am not nearly as strict on this as I would be other items in this series. And maybe I will explain that further down. For now…
- Aim – The Introduction should explain why listening to this sermon would be good for those listening.
- Length – I would say if you are not into your first point within 2 minutes you are losing ground. (there would be exceptions to this. Sometimes the introduction needs to be longer because it needs to review, cover some ground, that you are assuming in your sermon. So how do you decide? Ask someone. Tell them what the sermon is going to be about, then tell them the massive information you want to share in the introduction then ask them if they think it will be necessary for understanding? I find using others to help me in task is really nice. They have investment, and I get good solid feedback. Usually people could do with far less information in the sermons than we as pastors tend to think. So ask someone)
- Style – I believe that sometimes just stating flat out why people ought to listen is perfectly fine. But that is because I am not a big believer in forcing stories and such as illustrations into my sermons. If it works great, if not, keep going. So sometimes I have a story to tell and sometimes not. One time I said simply:
- Today I really want you to pay attention to the sermon, not that I don’t want you to always, but today I know there are several in here who have had struggles with trials and suffering in the last few weeks and I want you to pay close attention to what John is doing in this passage because he gives us three ways that Christ is related to our suffering.
- That was it. Nothing else was in that introduction. To me this is perfectly fine, and many times preferable to a contrived story illustration.
- Aim – The conclusion is the final call to action that the sermon was built on in the first place. Such as the sermon I had the introduction above, I would conclude this sermon with, charging the people to dwell on Christ’s role in their suffering with a few challenges to how or to any specific way I can nail it down for them.
- Length – It is usually super short and often for me, I start weaving the conclusion into the application of my last point. And often I write the conclusion right into the application of the last point.
- Style – I would simply repeat here what I have stated above about the style of introductions. Simple, quick, and one target to leave them with the main thought of the sermon.