Start Strong: Types of Hooks

In the previous article, I mentioned that one of the tasks of a preacher in their introduction is to hook the audience into the sermon. Why should a person take the time to listen to what you have to say? Here are the different types of hooks that your can use to draw your audience into the message that God has prepared for them.

(1) Tell a story.

In most cases, I tell a well-crafted story in my introduction. There’s so much power in telling a good story. In fact, it’s so powerful that we should consider making it illegal in public speaking. A good story has the power to captivate an audience and pack an important point at the same time. It has the three marks of excellent communication written all over it—clarity, relevancy, and memorability.  It’s no wonder that to this very day, storytelling remains such an important method of communication.

I normally craft a story from one of my past experiences. I always end the story by explicitly showing the audience how the narrative connects to the rest of the sermon. I’ll talk more deeply about stories later on in this blog.

(2) Show statistics.

There are plenty of statistics out there to make a case for a particular point. I recently attended a conference where a speaker began his talk by highlighting the effects of a fatherless society. He showed relevant statistics such as how many people in state penitentiaries grew up in homes without a father. The numbers he showed were staggering. At the end of his introduction, we had the point. Men needed to step up in their God-given roles as husbands and fathers.

There are two things you need to keep in mind when using statistics. Firstly, don’t overdo it. It may be tempting to dish out statistic after statistic after statistic. But too many numbers can overwhelm an audience and the point may get lost in the process. Only show relevant statistics and keep it to a minimum. Secondly, ensure that your numbers are accurate and that they’re derived from a credible source.

(3) Expose a problem.

One of the easiest ways to hook people into your sermon is by exposing a problem. Create conflict and tension among the congregation and refuse to solve the issue right away. With enough tension, the audience will be begging for an answer—an answer that only God can provide.

(4) Highlight a need.

Every sermon seeks to address a specific need in your congregation. It could be the need to change a particular behavior, the need to rid themselves of a specific sin, the need to do something for God’s kingdom, the need for a Savior, etc. Figure out what that need is and highlight it in your introduction. Draw the audience by helping them identify with the need and then let them know that the rest of the sermon will tackle the particular issue.

(5) Use a combination.

You can also use a combination of the hooks mentioned above which will give you added variety in your introductions. However, don’t overdo it. As I will talk about in the next article, keep the introduction short. There’s still so much to cover in your sermon.

Join the discussion: How else can you hook an audience into your sermon?

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Next Article: Start Strong: Final Thoughts | Series: Start Strong


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