Preaching and Those Few Key Sentences

How many hundreds of sentences are used in a sermon?  And they all matter.  But they don’t all matter as much as a few of them.  I suppose I would suggest the following sentences as worthy of extra effort:

1. The Main Idea. Hours might be spent crafting and honing the main sentence for a message.  That would be hours well spent.  The main idea is the boss of everything in the message, it is the filter through which much extraneous “good stuff” is sloughed off.  It is the burning hot focus that is to be seared into the heart and mind of the listener.  It brings together understanding of the passage with emphasis on the life-changing relevance for the listener.  The main idea really is all it’s cracked up to be, and it’s absence will only confirm that billing!

2. The first sentence. It’s great to start the message with an arresting introduction.  Instead of beating around the bush until you get into your stride, much better to start with a bang.  It may be a startling sentence.  It may be an intriguing sentence.  It may be a contemporary paraphrase of that infinitely powerful sentence, “once upon a time . . . ” (narratives do grip listeners fast!)

3. Transition sentences. I think transitions are oft-neglected.  A good message with poor transitions will lose people.  Give some extra effort to transitioning slowly, smoothly, safely.  Keep your passengers in the car when you take the turns.

4. The final sentence. That last sentence can ring in the ears as silence descends and you move to take your seat.  Despite the best efforts of over anxious worship leaders or people chairing meetings, the final sentence can resonate in a life.  Don’t fizzle to a halting stop.  Stop.  Clear.  Precise.  Having arrived at your destination.  Having achieved your goal.  Having parked the message with exactly the final sentence you determined.

Preaching may involve hundreds of sentences, but a few of them are worth extra careful crafting!

One thought on “Preaching and Those Few Key Sentences

  1. I have tried to script out sermons and I find that I just don’t do it very well. I have yet to preach a sermon that is not different (in some way) from what I prepared. It’s not usually a huge change, but sometimes I’ve felt led to emphasize one point more or something.

    I do think that crafting those key sentences is a great idea, though. For me, that serves as my outline – my opening, my transitions, and my closing. If I have those in place, then I know where I want to go.

    Good thoughts.

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