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Principles of Closing the Sermon
Mead gives two important principles that every preacher should keep in mind. First the preacher should stop the sermon when the sermonic destination has been reached. The second is that “after an ideal landing has been missed, every second is not neutral, but negative.”
We have all heard the preacher who has 10 “closes.” They say, “I am bringing this sermon to a close” or something like that. However over time we learn that they are only kidding us, and at the same time, greatly reducing their effectiveness.
Behavioral Purpose Again
I can think of two related points to Mead’s insight. You must have a “sermonic destination.” Henry Mitchell calls this the “behavioral purpose.” You must have a reason for giving the sermon.
Another important point is that you need that purpose in your mind when preaching. Do not simply add an aside that is irrelevant to your sermonic point. I often hear preachers talk about “I will give you this on the side”, or “I will give you this for free.” They are noting that this is not related to the point of the sermon, but I want to tell you it anyway. That mindset will open the door to preaching sermons that no one can remember.
As always, have one major point, have a primary purpose and preach that. If something doesn’t fit, preach it next week.
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