The worst parts of most sermons is the beginning. You’ve heard them – things like:
- Tap, tap, tap, is this thing on?
- I am so glad to be here… Thank you, Tom, Sally and someone else I am not remember right now.
- Or someone fumbled through their notes and just can’t get off the blocks
So what does it take to have a strong start to your speech?
A strong start to any public address requires you to be very intentional about the beginning!
I’ve had the opportunity to be with some of the greatest preachers on the planet, and I often will ask them about how they plan their first words. Most of them have told me that they spend the most time on writing and thinking through the beginning and the end. so I’ve try to follow suite. I asked my Mentor, who has trained many preachers, what should be a part of every beginning. He gave me four great things that I want to give you to. So here are the things I make sure are a part of every sermons start:
First I make sure that I have something that gets their attention.
Whether that is statement, a story or even an intentional pregnant pause. The first 30 seconds are my most important because I if don’t get my audiences attention then, I won’t keep them or get them back.
Second, I tell them the theme of my message.
This is closely tied to my main preaching point, though I don’t always tell them that point right up front. I believe that if you are going to take them on a journey, it is good to let them know what generation direction the train is headed.
Third, I give them the reason for why my message is relevant to them.
I think through all the types of people in my audience, and though I may not speak to each type, I make sure to answer the question “Why should you listen to me?”
Fourth, I give them a glimpse of the structure of my talk.
I may not say, “I will give you 3 points and a conclusion” but I will say, “We are going to look at this topic today through the life of this person or passage, and I will give you firm answer for why that matters to you along the way.” Remember, they can’t see your notes or map your mind, so give them some sort of skeleton to know where to hang the flesh of your talk as you go.
Attention, Theme, Relevance and Structure. When you get these four things in the beginning of your talk in a smooth way, I am sure you’ll grab your audience and impact their lives.