We’ve considered the various elements of an introduction before. The need to grab attention, build communication rapport, surface a need, move listeners into the text and the message. I’d like to underline the one that is probably neglected more than the others, yet it is the one we should never forget.
Another way of thinking about the “surface need” element of the introduction is to call it relevance. In the introduction, as a listener, I want to know …
This speaker is relevant to me. I don’t want to listen to somebody that is out of touch with the real world. Please give me confidence that you are a relevant speaker.
This message is relevant to me. If I am a normal listener, I have not come to church excited for a historical lecture. Please give me confidence that this message will be relevant to my life. If you leave application and relevance until the end of the message (traditional approach) then I may well miss it (to be absent from the body may not mean being present with the Lord, if you see what I mean?)
This passage is relevant to me. I would be thrilled to open up my Bible with expectation and motivation, hungry to understand it and be changed by it. As the preacher you need to create that motivation during your introduction.
Relevance in the introduction really is a great ingredient!