The conclusion of a sermon is of such crucial importance that it may make or break the thrust of your sermon. While some preachers may think this concept is decidedly unfair, it is nonetheless true. A poor, weak, or meandering conclusion will leave the congregation restless and feeling flat, rather than this being used as a crisp call to action.
The old adage of “Tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them” has some merit. Your conclusions are there to drive home the theme of your sermon. How so?
- Conclusions could use an appropriate illustration to tie into the theme. An apt quote, a story from the life of a great man or woman of faith, a contemporary vignette dealing with that theme—having these types of conclusions will be of great use. Jesus used illustrations to help illumine a specific spiritual concept. Expositors must never be opposed to using stories to help bolster the theme.
- Put the period at the end of the sentence. By that, I mean to be careful about meandering. Put the period on the end of the sermon. As one preacher said regarding conclusions and sermons: “Put a bow on that puppy.”
- Conclusions, by their very nature, are what the congregation remembers most because it is the last portion they hear. When the conclusions powerfully drive home the theme and thrust of the sermon, your listeners will consider the sermon a “good” sermon, even if the rest of it was mediocre. Such is human nature. Use this to your advantage. You want your people to leave with the point of the passage impressed upon their hearts and minds.
- Work on your conclusions just as much as your introductions and points. If you plan out your sermon from front to back, likely what will suffer most is the conclusion because this will be the last thing you get to. Yet, given the truth of #3, your conclusion should receive just as much attention as that of the body of the sermon.
What are some other important issues regarding conclusions in expository preaching?