Evangelistic Preaching (08)

30 04 2009

hands_shakingjpg8. Introductions.

Chappo says that the introduction to a talk needs to be written last. I think it’s good advice, and normally works for me. The main advantage in this is that the tail doesn’t wag the dog. That is, you don’t write a great introduction that you have to keep pushing towards what your talk is really about. Write the talk first, then write a good introduction that suits it, rather than the other way around.

Another thing that comes from Chappo is that an introduction works best when it raises a problem or a question that is answered by the body of the talk. In other words, the introduction raises the ‘so what?’ issue: why should I listen to this talk? What is this talk going to offer? A good introduction will resolve those issues and encourage the listener to stay with you.

A final Chappo thing. You only have about 2 minutes before people will decide if they’ll listen to you or not. So don’t waste it. It’s pretty commonplace to say hi and introduce yourself and all that, but I think it’s much better to launch right into it and make those 2 minutes really count. I guess there all kinds of exceptions to this though: if you’re the pastor of a church, you may have things you want to raise before getting into the talk; that’s fair enough. And if you haven’t been interviewed before an evangelistic talk you’ll need to say something to build a bit of rapport. But I think it is much wiser to break the ice with an interview (not immediately before the talk), and then launch right in: let the beginning be the beginning.

Well, I guess it’s all Chappo for me on introductions. Not a bad thing.

Posted by Con Campbell



2 responses

4 05 2009
Mike Doyle

Other “introduction” no-nos….

– an introduction to an introduction.
– taking too long to get to the text.
– not giving the listener a reason to listen (as you’ve mentioned).
– having the intro nothing to do with the talk/passage/main point


7 05 2009
Neil Foster

Dear Con and Mike;
Amen and amen! I feel quite “betrayed” when a preacher has a really catchy introduction on a hot topic, but the rest of the talk bears no relation to it whatsoever, or only a very slim one. So the idea of writing the intro last (or at least, only when you’re sure what the exegetical and hermeneutical issues are so you know where you’re going based on the text) is excellent.
Can I also throw in another bugbear of mine? I really hate “illustrations” which tell a story as if it came from the preacher’s life when in fact it doesn’t. I think a lie is a lie, and when someone tells me that X happened to them I ought to be able to believe it, just as much as they want me to believe their exegesis of the passage. Showing respect for the people you are preaching to is really important. I have been staggered occasionally when someone tells what sounds like a good story and I hear later that it came from some stock source of illustrations or is just a fantasy. Use these stories if you like, but say “I read somewhere…” or “did you hear the one about…”, not “this happened to me”.
Neil F

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