The introduction often takes the form of a condensed version of your subject. You tell your listeners briefly what you plan to speak about and the area you intend to cover.
You may also explain just how you plan to treat this subject. In this manner, you endeavor to whet their appetites and make them keen to hear more.
a. What Your Introduction Should Accomplish:
- Capture Interest. It should immediately capture the interest and imagination of your hearers.
- Establish Rapport. It should establish a rapport between you and your audience.
- Afford Acceptance. It should afford you an acceptance from them. You need to win their interest, confidence and esteem.
- It should inform them of what your subject is and how you intend to deal with it.
- Convince. It should convince them of the importance of your topic, and win their careful attention for the remainder of your talk. Never open your introduction with an apology. Never say: “Unfortunately, I have not had sufficient time to prepare my sermon, and I am afraid that it will not be a very good one!” If that is the case, the unfortunate people will find out soon enough. They will not need to be told! Such an apology will only lessen your own confidence in your abilities, and it will certainly not increase the people’s confidence in you.
b. Characteristics Of A Good Introduction:
- It Does Not Promise More Than You Can Deliver! Sometimes a preacher may make a most dramatic introduction to his sermon. He excites the audience for what is to come. He promises them a wonderful and enlightening exposition. If his message does not then reach the level he promised, it will be an anti-climax. His audience will be disappointed. They will also lose confidence in him.
- It Should Not Be Too Sensational. Do not set a pace which is impossible for you to maintain. Rather, let your introduction be modest, and then your audience will be pleasantly surprised when they discover the sermon to be much more interesting than they anticipated.
- It Should Not Be Too Long. Remember, this is only your introduction, not the sermon.
- It Should Bear Obvious Relationship To Your Theme. The introduction should lead into your theme, so it must always be vitally related to your subject. It may be a condensed version of the subject matter you intend to share. It may be a story which illustrates the truth of what you plan to say.
- It Should Be Carefully Prepared. Since your introduction is vitally important in winning the attention of your hearers, it surely deserves careful thought and preparation.
Try to put yourself in the place of you r audience. Ask yourself: What would successfully gain my attention? Of all that I propose to say, which particular aspect would really capture my interest? By using your imagination in this manner, you can determine the best style your introduction should take.
- It Should Provide A Natural Transition Into Your Theme. When properly presented, it should be obvious to your listeners just where the introduction concludes and the sermon begins.
This is applicable to all your message. It should be in several distinct sections or points. All points should relate to the central theme or text.
- The Main Body Of Your Message
I would suggest that you divide the main part of your subject matter into three major sections. These sections need not all be the same length. There should be a natural, logical and smooth progression from one point to the next.