Yesterday, I began a two-part series on sermon conclusions, based on a pretty rough landing I had last Sunday when I was guest preacher for a church in Beaverton.
Using the picture of flying a plane, we looked at three principles of conclusions:
1. Know where and how you are going to land before you take off.
2. Come in to land earlier rather than later.
3. Don’t give false signals.
The list continues (and concludes) today:
4. Don’t confuse landing with take off. Don’t use the conclusion to introduce a new point or a new element of teaching.
5. Making your landing as quick as you can. “Some conclusions are so long and drawn out as the message itself….. Some sermons touch down and then take forever to taxi to a standstill. Avoid that tendency.”
6. Only land once. Keep your conclusion simple, to the point and not multi=layered or multi pointed. Don’t appear to land and then take off again only to land and take off again and so on. You will leave your listeners very confused and very uncomfortable.
The unknown author of these notes in my files concludes with a quote from Richard Ramesh in Preparing Expository Sermons:
“The conclusion is the final movement of the sermon, so it crescendos to a climax. The preacher repeats or restates the central proposition (the main theme) to refocus the thoughts of the audience on what God expects of them. The conclusion will evidence two features, cohesion and resolution. Cohesion: The audience now hears in concise statements all the important points of the sermon. Resolution: The audience now has the feeling that the destination set out in the purpose during the introduction has been reached.” (p. 217)