Lloyd M. Perry is a well-known writer and professor of practical pastoral issues, and he himself is an outstanding preacher.


The preacher may select one or more purposes from the following list and thereby vary the content of the introduction:

To establish contact with the audience

To arouse interest in the text or theme being discussed by emphasizing its importance and clarifying the terms

To remove prejudice against the speaker or his subject

To show the pertinence of the theme to the occasion

To bring calmness to the audience

To enlighten the listeners regarding the background of the message

To point out the necessity for finding a solution to a particular problem

To clarify the unique features of form and content which the sermon will possess

There are many instruments or materials which the sermonizer can employ within the introduction:

A startling statement;

A challenging question or series of questions

A pertinent quotation

A witty, humorous, or amusing incident

An epigram (a bright or witty thought tersely and ingeniously expressed)

A vivid word picture

A definition

A comparison

A discovery

A correction

A concession

A paradox

A rhetorical question (a question not intended to elicit an answer but inserted for rhetorical effect)

A statement of a problem

A reference to a cartoon

An object lesson (if speaking to a "believing audience")

An announcement of something significant

A proposal

A personal observation

A commendation

A statement of the special importance of the theme

A conundrum (a puzzling question of which the answer is a pun or involves a pun) or riddle

Prediction or prophecy

A brief poem

A brief history of the theme

A proverb

A prayer

A pertinent, courteous reference to a previous speaker

A gracious acknowledgment of the speaker's introduction

A reference to a popular book

A reference to a current event

An incident from pastoral experience

A reference to a special season

A sentence from a book widely read

A comparison with other Scripture passages

A dramatic description


Select sermon illustrations from a variety of sources. Beware of having too many from personal experience and too few from the Bible. A starting list of sources would include:

Personal observation
Personal experience
Electronic media
Traditional illustrations
Comparative religions


Some of the more common types of illustrations which may be gleaned from the sources listed above include:

Object lessons
Figures of speech

Vary the techniques in using illustrations. Normally there is one major illustration for each main point. The type of sermon may be one factor which will alter the number of illustrations. Biographical, parabolic, and historical messages do not need as many illustrations as do doctrinal messages. Extremely long illustrations should seldom be used. The point of the illustration does not always have to be specifically stated. If it is a good illustration, the point should be obvious. It is wise to vary the age appeal of illustrations. There should be something for all age groups within the congregation. It is not always needful or wise to introduce each illustration in a formal fashion.


There are at least five different types of conclusions. The sermonizer may select from this list and thereby increase the element of variety.

The recapitulation or summary conclusion restates the main points of the message. They may be restated as given or paraphrased. There are some instances where the point can be summarized by one word. This process would provide an epigrammatic summary.

The application made under each main point may be summarized. This will emphasize the ways and means of applying the main divisions of the message to the daily life of the listeners.

One or more of the basic appeals may be stressed. This will be one way of providing a motivation to the listener to accept the truth of the message. Dr. Charles Roller, in his book, Expository Preaching Without Notes, lists these basic appeals as altruism, aspiration, curiosity, duty, fear, love, and reason.

When the main thrust of the message has been negative, the sermonizer will find it profitable to use a contrast conclusion, thus ending the message on a positive note.

If the listeners will have objections in their minds which will prompt them to refrain from accepting or acting upon the message, the speaker should list and meet these anticipated objections in the conclusion.

The speaker may select one or more of the instruments listed below to enhance the effectiveness of the conclusion.

A restatement of the text
An apt quotation
A fitting poem
An earnest exhortation
A story or illustration
An appeal to the imagination
A contrasting truth
A prayer
An answer to objections
A call for public response
A rhetorical question
An appreciation
A proverb
A promise
A suggestion of ways and means
A striking statement
A parable
A hymn

The changing of the mood in presentation will provide a useful means for gaining variety. The nature of the sermon, type of content, and occasion will provide guidance in the selection of a mood.: quiet; overwhelming appeal; comforting; contemplative; bright and joyful; worshipful or devotional.

Lloyd M. Perry is a well-known writer and professor of practical pastoral issues, and he himself is an outstanding preacher.