Shocking Truth Makes a Good Introduction

The in the last post, we began to look at the subject of the introduction to a sermon. We saw that a good story captures peoples’ attention, and then serves as the gateway into the message itself. Today we are going to consider that a shocking truth makes a good introduction to a sermon.

Purpose of an Introduction

The purpose of a sermon introduction
Purpose of an introduction

But before we get there, let’s remember the purpose of an introduction. The purpose of an introduction is really three-fold: to capture attention; to establish rapport with the audience; and to prepare people for the ultimate purpose of the message.

Shocking Truth Makes a Good Introduction

As was mentioned last time, a story is a wonderful way to do that. It follows the example of Jesus. Another way to accomplish this purpose is to provide a truth that will shock and awaken people.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones, a famous preacher from a previous generation, said,

In preaching you first have to demonstrate to the people that what you were going to do was very relevant and urgently important.

There are a variety of ways of doing this. On woman who worked with Middle School kids did this extremely well. She was talking to her church about the incredible challenge in the United States of losing a generation to unbelief. Statistics show that 70 to 75% of young people are leaving the Church after high school.

That morning, she had all the middle school kids in her program sitting together, about 70 kids. She then had 75% of them leave the worship center. It was shocking! She stood there in silence for a few moments while this truth permeated the room, that this huge percentage was in danger of drifting away from the church. And then she went on to preach on what it would mean for that church to leave a legacy.

No doubt about it, a shocking truth makes a good introduction to a sermon. She had everyone’s attention as she taught what the Bible says about passing on faith, and then outlined a program that was in development that would hopefully make the statistic not true for us.

Use this tool carefully

Of course, like any tool, this one can be used too often, and can be used incorrectly. I listened to one sermon where the preacher began well, with a shocking truth about the government in the US, but then failed to relate that directly to the main point of the message.

So, a few warnings about how shocking truth makes a good introduction to sermon. First of all, when you overuse this, you will find that people tune you out. So, this one should be used sparingly.

Secondly, it can be a challenge to find the right shocking truth to introduce your message. You can find them by reading up on your area, your country, your community and the world. Listening to news is another way to hear some shocking truth that will enable you to say to your audience, “I heard the other day….”

And thirdly, you should be ready to identify the source for your material. In our present world, people can access the internet and check on the accuracy of what you way. If you prove to be inaccurate, you lose credibility. Sometimes you can use a shocking truth without knowing the source by saying, “I read (or heard) this the other day. I don’t know if it is truth, but if it is….”

So shock people, wake them up, and they will tune in and listen.

Here’s another reflection from a teacher of preaching on the importance of introductions to messages.

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