What John Ortberg Taught Me About Sermon Intros and EndingsJul 01, 2022
There’s a massive difference between someone sitting in the room while you preach and someone engaged with what you’re saying while you preach.
Let’s face it: this world is full of distractions. People come into a church service with an assortment of things on their mind. Add to the problem, many people struggle to watch an entire TV show without checking their phone.
So what are you doing to help people engage with the sermon and do something in response to what God is saying through you?
Today, I want to pass on what John Ortberg taught me about sermon introductions and sermon endings.
If you want a go-to method to hook your listeners in the beginning of the sermon and build appropriate urgency toward application at the end of your sermon, then get your notebook and let’s dig in.
What John Ortberg Taught Me About Sermon Intros and Endings
So there I was, sitting at a table with nine fellow pastors. All of us with notebooks out and there to teach us was John Ortberg. It was a great day.
One of the most pivotal preaching insights he shared with us that day was related to how we begin a sermon and how we end a sermon.
He pointed us to the need to build tension. Yep, amen.
And then he gave us a way to ensure the tension is there every time. Game-changer.
John gave us a go-to way that he’ll sometimes use for his sermon introduction or sermon ending (or even both) and I want to share it with you.
He said to spend time asking and answering these questions:
- What will your life look like if you get this wrong?
- What will your life look like if you get this right?
By taking the time to ask and answer these two questions in the introduction, you get to show people why it’s vitally important that we talk about this subject.
By taking the time to ask and answer these two questions at the end of the sermon, you get to show people why it’s vitally important that we apply this message to our lives.
The Difference This Makes
Think about how different a sermon can be just by asking and answering those two questions.
A sermon on the topic of joy goes from a sermon to a moment of potential life-change.
A sermon on the topic of justification goes from a theological treatise to a sermon that places people in a moment of decision.
In every sermon, we must make clear the case why what we’re going to look at in the word of God is vitally important.
In every sermon, we must make a compelling case as to why people should apply the insights from God’s word to their lives.
This isn’t about being cute, it’s about communicating clearly.
Friend, a sermon isn’t a Bible Study. It is a proclamation of the word of God that flows from accurate exegesis to urgent exhortation. By asking and answering these questions, you can make sure that your sermon is rightly balanced.
Grow in Your Preaching
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