Dangling the Carrot: What to Say About Your Upcoming Teaching
When it comes to your teaching series, you as the pastor are the best and first tool for promotion. Even churches with great communications staff, websites, print media, advertising budgets and video clips will tell you that nothing is seen as more important than what exits the mouth of the pastor. The pulpit is the most powerful communications tool in the modern church. Here’s how to use it to engage your people in your upcoming teaching.
Breadcrumbs. Each Sunday, take just a moment at the beginning and end of your message to remind people where you have been, and to let people know where you are going. “Last week we studied…” and “…next week we’ll conclude with…” are great phrases to hear from the pastor. They are breadcrumbs that the congregation can follow to better understand where teaching is going. Remember, you’ve been grappling with the sermon all week—they haven’t. A little reminder is always a good thing.
Passion. If you are not passionate about what you are teaching, nobody else will be. Each Sunday, ask yourself, “Why am I excited about teaching this?” Answer that question for your congregation. You will never get others to follow what you do not believe in. But, if others see your belief, and catch that twinkle in your eye, they’ll want to hear more. If you truly are not excited or engaged about teaching something, consider why and continue to re-work your message.
Intrigue. Dangling a little “teaser” about next Sunday’s message is a great promotional tool to use, and can naturally fit within your sermon. Consider literary devices like a cliffhanger—share the first part of a story at the end of the message, for instance, and tell people to come back next week to find out if the subject of your illustration lives or dies. Or try a poll question ending. “What would you say is the number one challenge Christians face in their daily lives? Well, I’m going to talk about that very thing next Sunday!”
It goes without saying, that you cannot create a desire for what is to come if you don’t know what that is. Good sermon promotion begins with good sermon planning. If you don’t know what you are teaching next week, consider a planning calendar that will allow you to plan further out what you will be teaching. There’s always room for the Holy Spirit to move and last-minute changes to be made, but those are typically the exception. You don’t have to take very much time each week, but a few minutes and a few sentences can greatly increase your congregation’s desire to hear “what’s next” in their church’s pastoral teaching.
Author: Eugene Mason, Communications Director for Cross Pointe Church under the leadership of Dr. James Merritt.