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How to Create Engaging Conclusions

Conclusions are an essential part of every sermon. Conclusions are much like destinations. None of us would get in a car and travel any distance without knowing where we are going and how to get there. Sermons likewise should always have a planned destination. Similarly, one must know how to land correctly when they get there.

I have used a “G.O.A.L.” method for conclusions for many years with much success.

G – Goal

What is the goal that I want to accomplish with this message? The main goal of a sermon should be emphasized again in the conclusion. The goal of the sermon should be simple and easy to understand. The goal answers the specific question: what do I want the listeners of this sermon to do/understand/be because of this sermon.

O – Obstacles

The preacher should think about potential obstacles that the listener might be thinking about as the sermon closes. In the conclusion, the preacher will want to answer specific obstacles that would stop the listener from acting on the Word that has just been preached.

A – Application

In the conclusion, the preacher should apply the sermon to real life applications that can be implemented in the week after the sermon is preached. One issue that often plagues Christian listeners is that they enjoy the sermon but don’t know what to do with it. The preacher should spend considerable time thinking through powerful applications that can really cement spiritual truth to real life living. Kent Edwards in an article entitled “Satisfying Conclusions” states, “effective conclusions reach beyond the listener’s mind to the will. They call listeners to embrace the action that the sermon calls for. While some application will usually be given during the main body of the sermon, it is the conclusion where the clearest and most compelling call for response often occurs.” It is the duty of the messenger to deliver that call.

L – Lasting Impression

As the sermon draws to a close, the last important part of the conclusion should be to leave a lasting impression. This lasting impression should be something that the audience thinks about throughout the coming week. The lasting impression could be a video, a picture, or a story. One recent lasting impression of a sermon that I used on the importance of time was from this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJRKiweYxgM) on YouTube (note that not everything on YouTube is appropriate). This was a powerful unexpected video that definitely left a lasting impression.

Last words should always be valued. Conclusions are the last words of a particular idea and sermon. Conclusions don’t necessarily make the sermon, but if you don’t have a good conclusion, then you leave the listener and the sermon lacking.