Thursdays are the days I spend the majority of my day preparing for the message I am going to preach on Sunday. In addition to studying the text, preparing my Keynote slides, and doing a lot of praying (a LOT of praying!), there are several questions that I force myself to answer before I conclude my preparation for the day.
Over the next several days I want to share with you the questions I ask myself. Here are the questions I ask myself to help me set up my INTRODUCTION:
- What is a compelling question that I can frame the message with that both unbelievers and believers would be interested in the answer to? [This gives the audience a "reason" to listen.]
- What is a personal story I can share of how I have recently dealt with the issue this message addresses? [This connects the audience with me and my humanity.]
- What are several general ways that the audience has dealt with or is dealing with the issue that is being addressed? [This further connects the audience with the message.]
- What is at stake if myself and the audience do not understand the answer to the question being posed? [This adds "gravity" and "weight" to the message.]
I spend a significant time on how I "set-up" my message because I am convinced that it's not enough to just "teach the Bible" on Sundays. I must show those I am ministering to how what I am about to teach has implications and applications for their life that truly matter.
I liken the introduction to a message to how I feel about the first few pages of a book. If a book doesn't get my attention in the first few pages, I'll most likely put the book down and never get to "the rest" of what the book has to offer! Similarly, if I can't get the audience to care about what I'm going to say in the first 5 minutes, it will be very difficult to keep them engaged for the next 35!