Making Room for Celebration

micThe other day a preacher contacted me about a critique of his sermon. The sermon’s biggest drawback was the lack of a celebration, and yet the preacher was very animated and was at a high level of intensity throughout the sermon.

What the sermon illustrates is that high intensity and good preacher animation does not make a great sermon ending. The ending fell flat and I suspect that the people were not sure what was important in the sermon.

So how do you guarantee an adequate celebration? First you need to have a sermon with one laser sharp point. We are looking for something specific. If you don’t have a specific point in your sermon, you yourself will not know what to emphasize in the end and therefore your people will not know what it is that they are supposed to remember from the sermon.

Next, you need to vary your intensity throughout the sermon. There is a physical and social reason for this. The physical reason is that you only have so much physical reserves. You need to conserve it so that you can emphasize that which truly needs emphasizing.

Another reason is social. Your people will not understand from you what you think is important if you simply emphasize everything. It is trite but true that if you emphasize everything you emphasize nothing. And the fact of the matter is that there are only a small number of points that your people will remember. Don’t dilute their understanding by not providing guidance about which are the most important points.

Yes, you can truly end your sermon well and remind your people of the important points, when you have a laser sharp main point and when you vary the intensity in your sermon. These two points will make room for a powerful climax.

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Sherman Haywood Cox II is the director of Soul Preaching. He holds the M.Div with an emphasis in Homiletics and a M.S. in Computer Science.

Posted in blog, Preaching

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Revised Common Lectionary
5th Sunday of Lent (February 26, 2017)
  • OT: Ezekiel 37:1-14
  • Psalm: Psalm 130
  • Epistle: Romans 8:6-11
  • Gospel: John 11:1-45
Af Am Heritage Lectionary
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