What are the most important words of a sermon?
- “The Bible says”
- “Here’s what this means…”
- “In conclusion…”
Brian Clark of Copy Blogger says the most important word in blogging is “you.” He’s writing about blogging, but let’s see what it means for preaching. Keep reading.
“When it comes to writing engaging content, you is the most powerful word in the English language, because people are ultimately interested in fulfilling their own needs. It may sound harsh, but the fact is your readers wont start to actually care about you at all until youve repeatedly offered them exceptional value with your blog, ” Clark writes.
The second most important word, he says, is “Because.” He cites a study from Ellen Langer, a Harvard psychologist who conducted an experiment where she asked to cut in line to use a copy machine.
When she said, “Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine,” 60% said OK.
But if she added, “Because I’m in a rush…” the number jumped to 94%.
Langer argue the word “because” is a powerful trigger.
What does any of this mean for communicators?
First of all, while our sermon preparation must begin in the Scripture, our message must begin with the audience. In the first five minutes, we need to find common ground. That doesn’t happen by providing context for a passage or even sharing a personal story, it comes from stepping into their world.
Secondly, we must resist the temptation to think people care about our sermon simply because we’re delivering it or because it’s in the Bible. Our passion for a topic doesn’t automatically translate to the congregation. They need to know WHY the message matters. They need to understand WHY they should listen. They need the because.