I have heard a lot of introductions. I’m not writing of those by the preacher, but those about the preacher. My ministry has never been in a solo-preacher church. So with different speakers (be they team members or visiting speakers), there is potentially some need to introduce the speaker. In my traveling role I hear many introductions before I speak. Here are some musings on the subject:
1. It is easy to say too much. In an attempt to help the people know the preacher, or to establish his credibility, many will say too much. I feel that academic qualifications are relevant only in an academic setting or when they relate to a specific and unusual subject matter. Excessive listing of achievement or position achieves little other than making the speaker’s life sound impressive (and more distant from the “normal” listener). When asked what to say in an intro, I will usually request that they say as little as possible, perhaps mentioning that I’m married with four children (i.e. a normal person).
2. The introduction is mostly the preacher’s job. After a short and simple introduction, I can then decide anything I need to add explicitly for increased credibility or connection. It is important to note that people are struck far more by the preacher’s manner and delivery in the introduction to the sermon than any achievements they may have in other areas of life.
3. Be sensitive to the worship mood. In some settings a lot of prayerful thought has gone into the flow of the meeting. It is a shame to interrupt the moment with an unnecessary introduction of the preacher. (There have been times when an introduction was so over-the-top that I expected it to end with the words, “so will you join me in worshipping our speaker this morning, Mr . . .” Obviously this is not the kind of worship I have in mind when I refer to the worship mood!)
4. Is it necessary then, or at all? It is not a rule that the speaker must be introduced before they come up to speak. Consider whether the whole meeting would be better served by an introduction in the notice sheet / bulletin, or earlier on in proceedings, or not at all. Something special can be achieved with a seamless transition between music and message that can never be replicated with an interlude for introduction.