7 Powerful Opening Remarks you need to Captivate your Congregation
Finally, it's your turn to be a sabbath school superintendent or AY leader. You have spent the last week preparing your program amidst your busy week of shuffling the kids, preparing meals, and working long hours. Kudos because you are still prepared. It's the morning of, and you confidently take your place at the podium and begin the program with "Good morning and happy Sabbath. My name is ..........., and I'll be your superintendent for the morning. Please let me start by apologizing for ................
Your opening remarks can determine how long your audience will remain tuned in.
Tradition dictates that each presentation's first line should begin with a salutation of Good Morning, Good Evening, or Happy Sabbath. These are OK, but they create no suspense or feelings of wonder about what is coming next. Instead, it would be best to use attention-grabbing and out-of-the-ordinary introductions to captivate your congregation in the first 25 seconds. Using this tactic, you can keep your audience engaged for the rest of the presentation.
When preparing your program, you should ask yourself what you want the audience to remember six months from now. The answer forms the theme of your presentation. Your opening line should be in line with the rest of your presentation. You can draw in your congregation and keep their interest piqued.
Here are seven tips for engaging opening remarks.
Share a Testimony or Story
The story should be based on your presentation theme. It should be genuine and relatable. For instance, your program may be on the consequences of sin; your opening remarks can be: Did you know that even forgiven sin has consequences? I once knew a man who was a known drug dealer, and his customers included teenagers that he encouraged to try drugs. A few of his teenage customers died of an overdose or went to prison. He became enemies of the parents and relatives in the community who blamed him for destroying their children's life. He eventually gave his life to Christ, who transformed his life, and he got rid of the life of drugs. So much so that he became an active evangelist. However, despite his change, some community members still could not forgive him for the young lives he stole. His past actions hindered his ability to reach them.
The Show of Hands
This method is prevalent in our church settings because it works. I'm sure you've heard the opening; a show of hands if you had a good week this past week and God has been good. However, what if you flipped the question and added humor as an opening instead? Such as
Did you know that you are wealthy and blessed above many?
If you have money in the bank, your wallet, or spare change at home. You are in the top 8% of the world's wealthiest.
If you can attend church, you are more fortunate than 3 billion people worldwide.
Transporting Your Mind
After a long work week, your congregants want to feel rested and relaxed while learning at church. Of course, you don't want them to fall asleep, but depending on your program's theme, you may want them to be a part of a different time or scene—for instance, the set after the Flood. Feel free to enhance this type of opening remarks with sounds, pictures, or videos from your audio-visual team.
" Boodoombang " sounded as the ravaging floodwaters crashed against the ark's hull. The ship tossed to and fro. Inside the ark, Noah and his family were kept safe by God. In the distance, they could hear the eruption of the howling of the animals on the ship.
You may be presenting on a health program. These statistics always pique the interest of onlookers, so look for a shocking one.
Did you know that The Seventh Day Adventist Church membership is declining? "During an online Evangelism Summit for pastors and lay leaders on January 14, 2020, Elder Leonard Johnson, Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Division (IAD), presented the membership statistics for 2018 and the first semester of 2019. In 2018, 236,067 members joined, but the loss was 286,059 members, resulting in a net loss of 49,992 members." https://atoday.org/is-the-inter-american-division-growing/
The Headlining or Powerful Statement
Newspapers use sensationalism to capture their congregants because it's a tool that works. A line such as: "Could you be the cause of drug abuse, teenage pregnancy, crime, and violence in your community?" Today we will look at what happens when the church does nothing.
The Element of Surprise
Instead of starting your presentation from the pulpit, get a cordless mic or shout as you walk from the front door down the aisle.
Pause / Silence
An effective way to use this technique is to step in front of the podium, say a seemingly controversial statement, pause, then smile. Here you can make a statement without saying a word.
E.g., <Pause> "If we continue to ignore the plight of the homeless in our community, we will all miss out on heaven!". <Pause>
Try any of these tips for your next opening remark, and let us know how well your church receives them.