Murray on Sermon Introductions
David Murray has an incredibly helpful post in which he gives 10 short points of instruction on what ministers should avoid in the introduction of a sermon. If you are anything like me, you find the introduction to be one of the most useful elements of the message. It will either draw your hearers in, or turn them off, from the outset. One of my professors at seminary likened the introduction to the front porch of the house. When you begin a sermon you are bringing your hearers up on the front porch to look into the house. You are, by way of illustration or analogy, pointing out the various riches of the house that they will see as you walk them through. It may be a biblical, historical, literary or cultural illustration, but it serves to highlight some particular overarching aspect of the text that you will preach. Dr. Murray improves on this idea by mentioning pitfalls that are all too common for ministers of the Gospel--especially, I believe, in Reformed churches. You can read the post here.