How NOT to begin a sermon:
“I’m sorry I didn’t have time to prepare.” (Don’t tell us. Let us figure that out on our own.)
“I’ve been busy this week.” (Everyone has been busy this week.)
“I have 17 points I’d like to share with you.” (Don’t scare us like that.)
“I”m sure we all remember what Athanasius once said to Theodoret of Peoria.” (No, we don’t remember what he said. We don’t know who Athanasius is, and what’s up with this guy named Theodoret?)
“This is a hard message for me to preach.” (Well, this is slightly acceptable as long you don’t use that same line every third sermon. Hard messages are hard to listen to on a regular basis.)
“I don’t feel well this morning.” (Better lie down and take a nap.)
“I’m not sure what God wants me to say.” (Then why did you call this meeting?)
I intend to say more about introductions, but mostly I want to emphasize the importance of not wasting those precious few seconds that each preacher is given at the start of his message. For a fleeting moment, the attention of every man, woman and child focuses on the preacher. What will he say? Does he have a message I need to hear?
Don’t waste that moment.
If you lose the people, it’s hard to win them back.
And please don’t apologize.
No preacher ever feels fully prepared to preach. That’s why God sent the Holy Spirit. Come and give us what you’ve got, with all the passion and strength and wisdom God has given you.
We came to hear you give us the Word of the Lord.
All we like sheep easily go astray while you are preaching.
So please don’t waste those first few moments.
Grab us with your first sentence and don’t let go.