Friday, December 28, 2007

The Importance of Introductions...

They say that first impressions are everything. And the first impression of any message is its introduction. Introduce something poorly, and the opening words may actually be the last words your audience hears. Careless introductions produce careless hearers. Take heed in your conversations to prepare your listeners well with thoughtful, meaningful, and relevant words. Just as a farmer prepares his soil for planting or an artist prepares his canvas and paints, so preachers and teachers must invest time and care and skill into a well crafted introduction so that your message is not lost due to an ill mannered entrance.

Daniel knew this.

As he was unexpectedly ushered into the banqueting hall of Belshazzar, there before him was the text of his sermon inscribed on the wall by the finger of God. No clergyman could have asked for clearer counsel on what to preach! But notice how Daniel, though given wisdom to understand the message, was wise enough to introduce it well. He could have started with Belshazzar's fate...but he begins with Belshazzar's father. He could have commenced with the conquering Persians, but rather he begins with corruption caused by pride. In fact, the greater portion of Daniel's message that day was all introduction. Daniel 5:18-24 is the introduction, verse 25 is the text, and verse 26-28 is the message.

Wise teachers and preachers will take a feather from Daniels cap. Introduce your subject, and do it well. Don't assume the heart of your hearer is already heated to your subject, don't presume that the pump is already primed. Prime it for them! Warm them with words aimed to awake! Convince them first that life and death hangs in the balances of these words, persuade them that this concerns them and that if they care for their souls they will take care how they hear. Your introduction to your message is the blowing of the alarm. Fail in this and you have failed your flock. Lose them at the start and you will never find them in the end!