Introductions…the invitation to the journey that you are bringing your congregation on. Good introductions need to arrest attention quickly and give a taste of what’s to come. I like to think of a good introductions like the FREE SAMPLES at stories. You get a taste, and if you like it, then you’ll stick around for more. In the same way, I good introduction will hook people in, and if you’ve got an engaging message, they stick with you on a journey.
FALLEN CONDITION FOCUS//TENSION
The Fallen Condition Focus is a concept that I learned from Bryan Chapell in his book Christ-Centered Preaching. Chapell, writing from the reformed perspective, says that every passage of scripture addresses a fallen condition. The fallen condition could be a sin issue, a problem that needs to be solved or a struggle that the original audience is dealing with. Then the modern day equivalent is dealt with (ex: Philippians struggling with church unity, we struggle with unity in the church).
The updated version of this is the concept of TENSION that Andy Stanley talks about in his book Communicating for a Change. By creating tension in the sermon, you are asking questions to provoke interest, describing a problem, or introducing a dilemma that the Scripture is going to answer.
- Who is Jesus?
- What is Evil?
- Where do we go when we die?
- When will Jesus come back?
- Why are we afraid to ask God for healing?
- How can I strengthen my marriage?
PROPOSITIONAL STATEMENT//BOTTOM LINE
When people walk into your church, they have a million things on their minds. They are thinking about what they have to do for work, bills they have to pay, washing their cars, etc. The challenge in your introduction is to arrest everyone’s attention and start to get them to think the way you want them to think. That is why I believe illustrations and stories are incredibly important to have at the beginning of the message. I’m not a fan of starting the message with, “Turn in your Bibles to….” because I think people need to have their minds and hearts prepped before we go to the Scriptures.
When these four elements are artfully interwoven in your introduction they can be powerful and capture the attention of your audience. In the next post, I’ll share some different ways to introduce your message.
How about you? What works best for your messages?