Southwestern Baptist Seminary offers an excellent new resource called PreachingSource.com. In a recent article posted there, Kevin Ueckert offers three tips for more effective sermon conclusions:
“A conclusion cannot be completely planned and written before determining the content of the sermon. Once my content is decided, then I can properly move to a conclusion. The prerequisite of content implies spending enough time in the development and clarity of the content so that I actually know what I am trying to conclude. Have I come to the place in my sermon content development that I understand what I am trying to communicate in the sermon? What has God said in the passage of Scripture that I am trying to re-state, explain and apply? Can I state what I want to say in a simple and clear way? What does God’s Word actually demand, encourage, or call people to do, think, believe, etc.? Once I have a very good handle on the content of the sermon and the intended outcome of the sermon, then I can move to the conclusion.
Where the introduction sets out to capture the listeners’ interest, a conclusion seeks to secure the heart of the listener towards response to what God has said through the sermon. A conclusion is not just a rewording or a summary of the content. The conclusion is the final presentation that contains the takeaway or emphasis from the sermon experience often communicated in an emotive way such as personal appeal or story. The final words of the sermon should feel less like the end of a sermon and more like the beginning of a personal response to God. We should prepare our conclusions with the expectation that God will call people to listen to what He says and respond. . . .
Conclusions should be short. Don’t spend so much time landing the plane that the people wonder where you are really taking them. If you don’t manuscript your sermon, then, at the very least, manuscript your sermon conclusion. Your final words need the clarity that can come from a thoughtful manuscript.” [Read the full article]