I recently experienced how horrible it can be when a plane has trouble landing. I was flying into Orange County, California and the winds were swirling. I saw the Pacific Ocean for the first time out the window at my seat but soon after, I thought we might end up in the water. The plane was all over the place. As we approached the runway, the plane was dealing with turbulence to a degree I had never experienced before. The pilot had to bail out of the landing attempt and try again. Thankfully, we landed and I didn’t hurl (I was really close).
Sometimes sermons can feel like that – especially at the end of the message. Instead of the message making its descent in a smooth, satisfying, clear way, it’s tilting left and right, it’s dropping down and going up, and then it might even bail out of the landing, circle around, and give it another try.
The way you end your message dictates how people will walk away from hearing it.
Will they walk away amazed at who God is?
Or will they walk away confused at what they just endured?
The choice is ours. All it takes is an extra ounce of intentionality as we design and preach the end of the sermon.
The way you end your message dictates how people will walk away from hearing it.Tweet
2 Things the End of Your Message is Missing
1. A vision for an applied, grace-filled future.
By the end of your message, people should know exactly what your main point is and what it means to apply it to their lives. So that by the time you are at the end, you can do this:
Paint a picture for them of what life would and could look like in the future if they applied this word from God to their lives. This is where it’s important that we show them, not just tell them.
Give them examples of how an applied, grace-filled future is different from today.
And as you’re doing this, think about what categories of life you’d like to focus on. Here are some examples of “life categories.”
- Corporately – what does an applied, grace-filled future for the church as a whole look like if we all followed God’s lead in this together?
- Individually – how would this change someone’s individual life?
- Home – how would this impact people’s households/family?
- Sphere – how would this impact people’s social sphere?
- Community – how would this impact the broader community in which we live?
- Nationally – how would this impact the nation in which we live?
- Globally – how would this impact the entire world?
You might use a story to paint the picture. You might just list out a number of scenarios where you identify the positive differences between that new world and this one.
In storytelling, this is the “resolution” where we get to see the new world after the climax. In the sticky sermon structure, this is the “inspiration” section.
Regardless of what you decide to call this section of the end of your message, don’t miss the importance of giving people a vision for an applied, grace-filled future.
2. A clear call to action.
As I said above, by this time in the message, people should already know the main point of the message and how to apply it to their lives (at least generally speaking).
But now, we’re going to give people a specific call to action, a first-step they can take toward applying this message to their lives.
For those who don’t know Christ, the clear call to action may be to talk to a pastor or volunteer about what it looks like to surrender to King Jesus. In the same message, you may challenge Christians to a week of dedicated time toward a specific spiritual discipline.
In a different message, your specific call to action might include things like:
- Join a small group
- Serve on a team
- Talk to one person about who Jesus is
- Read a certain chapter of Scripture each day
- Pray about a certain topic each day
- Practice generosity
- Volunteer at a community organization
There are many more paths you could take, the important thing is making sure that whatever clear action step you call people to connects to the main thrust of the sermon.
Can you imagine?
Think about how this could change the way your hearers respond to the next message you preach.
By giving them a vision for an applied, grace-filled future, they’ll begin to see how their relationship with that difficult family member can be improved or how the impact of their faithfulness can have a ripple effect into the life of their children and co-workers.
They may believe, for the first time in their lives, that they can and should talk to someone about Jesus and His love for them. Even more, they may go and do it because they felt the Holy Spirit’s nudge after you challenged them to do so.
So what will you do?
Here’s my challenge to you: include these two things at the end of the next sermon you preach.
- A vision for an applied, grace-filled future.
- A clear call to action.
Will you take me up on the challenge?
If so, let me know in the comments below.
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