The late Steven Covey introduced the world to the phrase, “start with the end in mind” in his fantastic book, The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People. This advice is what you need to think about when you first consider your topic. Meaning, you should have one topic, one main idea that you want your audience to leave with. My professor would often tell us in class that if your wife asks you on Saturday night what your sermon is about; you should be able to answer her in one succinct sentence. Remember, you do not want to resemble a shotgun shell spraying tiny bee-bee’s, rather a rifle shooting one powerful bullet.
Rockem Sockem point #2: Deliver up a Snazzy Catchphrase.
I like to use this little tool for all my sermons: “By the end of this sermon, the audience will walk away knowing more about__________”. By the time you walk out of the service, you will have learned _____________________”. This helpful method forces me to reduce my speech to a single powerful topic, this also helps me to think about the message I want the audience to prepare for. Your catchphrase should be a short, simple, sound-bite that grips your audience. The audience should sit up and take note when you deliver your catchphrase.
This will be your catchphrase you use in the beginning of your speech to introduce your topic of choice to the audience. Only after I am completely done with my sermon do I go back to this aspect and try to jazz up the sentence to add interest. For example, “By the end of this sermon you will understand the importance of being a godly father” becomes, “This morning I am going to talk to you about something vitally important in your life, how to be a great daddy. I will do this by teaching what the 4 D’s of a Dynamic Daddy are.” The former puts me to sleep and if I hear that sermon title beforehand, I just might pull my car over and return home. The latter evokes interest. It speaks to people's minds and hearts. Think long and hard about creating a great catchphrase.
Rockem Sockem point #3: Open up effectively.
You want to leave no doubt in your audiences mind that they made a very good choice when they woke up this morning and attended your speech. Your opening is super duper important because this is the only time in your speech that you know for certain that everyone is listening. Grab them and do it in a way that leaves no doubt in their minds they are in for transformation. There are a variety of methods that you could open your talk with, but I’ll suggest the 3 best ways possible.
1)A Story: Make it compelling. Make it emotional. Make it make sense. Be real. Be raw. Be sensitive. And remember to use your unique voice, not someone else’s.
2)Shock: An eye popping stat, a ridiculous quote or a jaw dropping phrase.
3)A Powerful Question: “Many of you ate breakfast before service today, but did you know that during your morning cereal 37,988 people died of starvation???”
After your introduction goes your catchphrase.
So let’s use the above for an illustration:
“How many of you ate breakfast before service today? Did you know that during your morning cereal 37,988 people around the world died of starvation??? This morning, I am going to share how being a neighbor to those around you will save the life of 1 starving child.
Please turn with me to Luke …”
Please turn with me to Luke …”