What if you could quickly shrink the gap between you and your audience?
What if you could connect with them in a way that pulled them in to your entire sermon?
The FIRST FIVE MINUTES of your sermon is one of the things we focus on in Preaching Rocket, a revolutionary, step-by-step system designed to take the stress out of creating powerful sermons each week.
By narrowing your focus on a few specific components, you can master your intro and win the right to be heard.
“I felt that in preaching, the first thing that you had to do was to demonstrate to the people that what you were going to do was very relevant and urgently important.”
Here are five great ways to engage your audience quickly in your next sermon.
Here at the Rocket Company, we’re a big fan of using stories in your preaching.
Why? Because when it comes to making an emotional connection, stories work better than points to engage your congregation within the first five minutes.
But here’s a hint…
Just tell the first part of the story.
Save the ending for later.
You’ve seen this technique in movies and TV shows. And it’s drawn you in, hasn’t it?
Introduce a narrative (either about you or someone else) in your intro, but leave the ending up in the air. Then, come back to your story later and connect it to your main point.
To break the mold of bantering and welcoming, start your sermon with a powerful statement that gets people’s attention.
“Once I have a good angle established by the introduction, I go back and craft a strong opening sentence.”
Swindoll believes the opening statement should be short and memorable. When he preaches, he memorizes his opening line, then confidently uses it to launch his message.
Say, “At the end of this message, I’m going to ask you to ________________.”
When you tell people what you’re going to ask them to do, it’s kind of shocking.
Most people are used to a preacher who builds a case and saves the request/invitation until the end. Instead, come right out and state what you want them to do at the end of the message. Give them the action step at the beginning.
I used this technique one time in a message on volunteering. My opening words went something like this,
“At the end of this message, I’m going to ask you all to fill out the card in your seat. And for the next 30 minutes, I’m going to do everything I can to convince you to serve.”
People didn’t expect that direct of an approach, but it worked.
As communicators, we tend to think defensively about countering the objections of people who disagree with our beliefs.
Yet often, the greater danger is that people will think they agree with you.
If the congregation imagines that they already know what you’re going to say, they’ll tune you out. Your message will fail to challenge them with new thinking.
This is when you shock them into paying attention…
You probably expect this message on anger to be about being less angry. Good Christian boys and girls don’t get angry, right? Actually, no. Today, I will tell you why you’re not angry enough.
Most people aren’t willing to change unless the risk of loss or the opportunity for reward is high enough.
To engage your congregation with your intro, you must wake them up to the fact that there’s more at stake than they previously thought.
You must stir up their emotions to spark change.
That’s going to take some boldness on your part. Here’s an example…
“You all know that it’s important to say kind words. But today, I want to make sure you understand the weight of what the Bible is saying: life and death are in the power of the tongue. Your marriage, your children, and everyone else you care about, will either experience one or the other. And the determining factor will be how you learn to speak to them. Nothing could be more important to your future than the seemingly insignificant words that are coming out of your mouth today.”
Think about the changes you want your congregation to make at the end of your upcoming sermon. Starting with your intro, how could you spark them to truly make life-altering decisions? Don’t wait for the conclusion of your message: build it into the very first paragraph.
The Rocket Company has partnered with seasoned, experienced, and passionate pastors to create a revolutionary, step-by-step preaching system designed to take the stress out of creating powerful sermons each week.
Here’s what one pastor said…
I’ve been preaching since 1968. Preaching Rocket is the single greatest tool I have ever used to get better.
Jump in to this free trial to get the practical tools to boost your preaching that you never got in school…
You and your congregation will thank us later!
Now go and conquer the first five minutes of your next sermon!