12.31.13

Don’t Forget to Land the Plane – 3 Ways to End Your Sermon                                  by Michael Lukaszewsky

The landing is one of the most important parts of any flight. In this moment, there is more potential for error and danger than any other time.

This is true of sermons, too.

Too many times, we create great outlines and deliver great content, but suffer a crash landing. Without a clear conclusion, great content often falls flat.

Before I give you a few practical suggestions on how you can end your sermon, let me share with you two biblical examples.

Example #1: Nehemiah.

In the Old Testament book, Nehemiah told his story and then clearly asked the people to join him in building the wall. His call to action wasn’t “think about it,” but “build it.” Nobody had any doubt about what Nehemiah wanted. The end of his message was super clear.

Example #2: Peter.

In Acts 2, Peter preached one of the greatest messages of all time. He told the story of Jesus and accused people of killing Jesus. At the end of the message, Peter clearly said, “Repent and be baptized.” There was no doubt what Peter wanted people to do. Peter was crystal clear.

Here are three ways you can clearly land the plane in your message.

1.  Ask people to DO something.

If you’re preaching on prayer, don’t just extol the virtues of prayer. As you come to the end, ask people to pray. Not generically, but specifically. Say something like, “This week, I want to ask you to take five minutes in the morning to pray for your neighbors.”

If you’re preaching on forgiveness, ask someone to start a conversation with someone they need to forgive. The more action oriented and specific you can make your conclusion, the more powerful it will be.

The best time to consider this question is BEFORE you start writing. If this question is on your mind throughout your preparation process, you’re more likely to preach for action. What do you want people to do? Keep that question on your mind and make sure it makes its way to your sermon.

2.  Ask people to SIGN UP for something.

Another common ending is to ask people to take a next step. Whether it’s a class or a group, a volunteer opportunity or online giving, calling people to take action is a great way to end a message. When you connect the content of the sermon to the action step at the end, it’s powerful.

When you’re asking people to sign up, make it easy for them.

Can they sign up by texting something to a particular number. Can they fill out a card that only has two or three blanks. Can they drop the card in the offering bucket instead of standing in a line at a table?

If you make the step simple, more people will take it.

3.  Ask people to PRAY something.

Another way you could end your message is to ask everyone to close their eyes and walk them through a guided prayer. Ask them to pray silently as you pray out loud.

But don’t tack this on … really think it through.

Connect your prayer to the message and give people the opportunity to talk to God.

Those are just three ways you can land the plane this week. What are some of the great landings you’ve seen?

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