The introduction forms an integral part of any sermon which can affect its overall presentation. And so I never recommend skipping the introduction portion of your message. It just won’t be the same without it. As the preacher, there are three specific things you need to do in your introduction:
It’s customary to begin your introduction by greeting the audience. In most cases, a simple “Hi” or “Hello” should be sufficient. If you weren’t formally introduced, you might say a little bit about yourself. I usually just state my name and quip, “And that’s all you really need to know about me”. Take note of the time of day. I occasionally hear speakers say, “Good morning” when it’s clearly mid-afternoon.
You could also choose to forego the greetings and just start off with the next item. This adds emphasis to your introduction that usually (but not always) spells out that a serious conversation is up ahead.
The second thing you need to do is hook the audience into the message. Draw their attention by finding ways to show that your sermon is worth listening to—that you have something crucial to say coming from the Word of God. You can hook the audience by telling a story, showing statistics, exposing a problem, highlighting a need, or using other creative means at your disposal. Whatever you choose to do, however, the hook must connect to the rest of the sermon in some way. Remember, the primary purpose of an introduction is to present the big idea of your message.
In the next article, we’ll look at the different types of hooks to draw people into your sermon.
Lastly, you need to usher the people from the introduction to the body of your sermon. The transition is a statement that explicitly tells the audience how your hook connects to the rest of the sermon. Don’t leave the audience to figure out for themselves why you told a story or showed some statistics. As I like to say, a congregation that does not see the connection ends up in confusion. A good transition explicitly gives the audience a glimpse of what you’ll be covering in your sermon.
Join the discussion: Do you include anything else in your introduction?