Intros to Avoid in Preaching… Unless You Like Losing An Audience

Intros to Avoid in Preaching… Unless You Like Losing An Audience September 7, 2011

RiverofGod, Flicker

Here’s some quality thoughts on “8 Starts to Avoid in your Preaching” from Rachel Blom:

1. Shocking start

I’ve seen preachers use this technique and so far, none of them were successful. Starting with something shocking (a shocking video, quote, song, joke, etc) may seem like a sure way to grab your audience’s attention, but if often backfires for several reason. First of all, after a shock, it’s hard to keep interest for the rest of the sermon…

2. Predictable start

There are preachers who start every sermon the same way, with the same sort of story, the same joke, or the same prayer…  Make sure your starts are fresh and avoid being predictable. Don’t overuse the same jokes or stories; believe me, listeners have a fantastic memory for these things.

3. Offensive start

…Offending people is easier than you think. Avoid negative remarks about today’s culture, music, movies, games, etc, before they know you, like you, and know the context in which you’re saying it. They may love the very things you’re denouncing, and while you may completely right, they won’t listen to you.

4. Long start

Some intros are so long, they become a sermon in itself…

5. Passive start

If you want your audience to become captivated, start actively with something that’s easy to listen to, like a story, a narrative or something emotional or funny…  Keep it short, engaging and move on.

6. Announcement-start

Any preacher starting with “Today I want to talk about…” immediately loses my interest…

7. Show off start

There are these preachers who feel they have to start with demonstrating their oratory skills or their knowledge…  I’d advise you to just be yourself. I’ve seen the other end of the spectrum as well: preachers who almost desperately tried to be cool in their intro, using all the hip words, talking about the latest movies or music, and trying to convince listeners that they were “it.” Don’t. Again: just be yourself…

8. Apologetic start

This is a pet peeve of mine. I hate it when people start a sermon with some sort of apology. They’re sorry because they’re late, because the mic wasn’t working, because they have a stain on their shirt, or whatever. The thing is, when you’re apologizing, you draw attention to stupid details nobody is interested in…


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