Sermons

Summary: How can we conclude our sermons well?

Lesson Goal

This lesson will encourage us to conclude our sermons well.

Lesson Intro

Moderns often use the terms intro and outro for the older sounding terms introduction and conclusion. Because the English language is ever evolving, let’s attempt to keep up to date and use those terms interchangeably. The reality of preaching is that most of what we say will be quickly forgotten. People don't just drool over our every word. However, we do have an opportunity in the concluding comments to leave people with something to think about all week long. We have to be careful though, because as soon as the closing prayer is finished and people are out the door, they will quickly forget anything except what really impacted them. A carefully designed conclusion can be that parting gesture that sticks.

Lesson Plan

Let’s discuss why conclusions are vital for good preaching, how to prepare a variety of excellent conclusions and gives some examples.

How to Prepare

A powerful conclusion is like a work of art. It takes time to create. Rarely will a memorable conclusion just jump out of thin air. The topic or Scripture is the start of the conclusion, because they must tie in together. It is no use preaching about salvation and concluding with an exhortation about marital fidelity. They are different subjects. Look at the suggestions below and prepare ahead.

What Makes Powerful Outros?

Great outros are short

Strong outros are honest and appropriate

Compelling outros are meticulously prepared

Influential outros are personal

Effective outros are specific and plain

Dynamic outros are lively and spirited

Outro Ideas

Be positive. Don't be known for having a hypercritical spirit and thereby either turning people away or creating a negative church. Negative comments must be used at times of course, but normally only use negatives in the beginning of a sermon. Try to always end on a positive note.

Briefly summarize. “Less is more” as they say in the advertising business. This is because too much information is more easily overlooked. If we can’t state our sermon in brief summary form perhaps it is too complicated and needs to be given as several sermons or reworked.

Take out. Give the church something to take home, not just airy fairy theories. The sermon must be practical. For instance, if we are describing the awesome majesty of our great God, that wonderment ought to be their meditation all week long.

Be bold, urgent and challenging. A mechanical altar call is a rather recent invention historically, and though they can be helpful, they are not always necessary. Jesus’ sermons incited people to thought, strengthened their spirits, and cautioned the negligent.

Restate the text or plan. Repetition is a valuable teaching tool.

Give a brief story. Tell a short story (emphasis on the word short), a very brief story that is an example of how the sermon can be put into practice. Allow a couple of minutes in a half hour sermon or a minute in a 10 minute sermon. Make it brief and to the point.

Try a little poetry. Recite a poem that summarizes the sermon in different words.

Caution

The conclusion is a point where your sermon can go astray. We discussed before about eisegesis, the tendency to twist a scripture to fit what we want to say. If we have something to say, and the scriptures do not back it up, it may not be what God wants us to say. If we genuinely believe it is given to us by the Holy Spirit, don’t twist the scriptures to make them say it. Let the scriptures say what they have to say, and we say what we have to say.

Prepare the Outro before the Intro

As stated before, the outro is usually prepared before the intro. It is often that little bee in the bonnet, that deep and significant thought that the Holy Spirit has been urging us to say, that profound idea that we would spoil if we blurted it out in casual conversation.

If we prepare the outro first, allowing for it to change if need be, sermon preparation becomes easier. We have a purpose in mind, a goal to strive for.

Example Sermon

Title: Being Joy-Filled

Intro

A recent study showed that our materialistic western nations have little joy. One major reason given was that we are never satisfied with life, but always want more money, more power, more status, more things. Poorer countries have far more joy in life because they are not as exposed to our western commercialization and continual lust for more. They have a genuine appreciation for the simple pleasures. How can we be filled with joy?

Plan

Let’s examine Acts 13:52 and discover a key to joy.

1. Joy-Filled

What are our lives full of — television, sports, music, dreariness, work, worries, lust for material things? Can we honestly say they are filled with joy?

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