How To Write A Sermon Introduction: 9 Ways To Start Strong

Knowing how to write captivating sermon introductions is a game-changer.

Because you have just 90 seconds to engage your listeners…

A brief window to either captivate them or risk losing their attention for the duration of your message.

As a wise preacher once said:

“Don’t jump out from behind the same tree every week.”

With this in mind, here are 9 ways to craft impactful sermon intros you can use to keep your preaching fresh and grab your congregation’s attention.

9 Ways To Write A Sermon Intro Well

1. Start With Urgency
2. Start On A High
3. Start With A Story
4. Start With An Impactful Statement
5. Start By Giving A Call To Action
6. Start With An Attention-Grabbing Question
7. Start With Shocking Facts & Statistics
8. Start With Humour
9. Start With Scripture

1. Start With Urgency

Martyn Lloyd-Jones said,

In preaching you first have to demonstrate to the people that what you were going to do was very relevant and urgently important.

A great sermon introduction is one where the preacher walks up to the pulpit and gets right to it without the waffling and social banter.

Now’s not the time to let people know how well the church bake sale went.

There’s no need to “warm up the crowd” – it’s time to preach – so start and start quickly.

The clear message this sends to your listeners is you have something to say that’s worth listening to.

It’ll make them sit up a little straighter in anticipation of what you have to say next.

“The sermon only has as much authority as the preacher can win for it.”

2. Start On A High

As preachers, we get to preach.

We don’t preach because we’ve got to, no, we get to reveal God’s Word to His people.

What an honour!

Therefore, when your writing and presenting your sermon introduction, start high.

Every time you walk up to the pulpit and open the Bible, you have the opportunity to present the Word of God in a way that causes life change.

God’s Word transforms families, marriages and the lives of people like you and me.

When you’re introducing your sermon you should be so excited to share about the love that God has for each and every precious life sitting in front of you.

Let your excitement for your sermon be contagious.

Let it show. Smile! 🙂

Be energetic and enthusiastic about your message. After all, it’s not just what you say in your sermon intro that counts, but also how you say it.

Introduce your sermon with genuine excitement about what everyone is about to discover in God’s Word and they’ll follow your lead and prick up their ears in expectation.

“Why should we proclaim the wisdom of men when we have the privilege of preaching the Word of God?”

3. Start With A Story

The third key to writing a sermon introduction is to start with a story.

Stories get people’s attention, especially personal ones that share feelings and experiences your church members can relate to.

Do you remember the first time you got bullied or had your heart broken? Connect with everyday frustrations you know your people have experienced.

Stories about being cut off in traffic or having to put up with a difficult colleague in the office can be used to draw your listeners into the rest of your sermon.

💡 Pro Tip

Tell the first part of a story and save the ending for the end.

Hollywood does this all time – oftentimes a film or TV show will draw you in with a captivating story but leave the ending up in the air before coming back to it later.

Move through your content and then come back to your story, connecting it to your point. Done right makes for an exceptional sermon.

So next time you preach – preach like Jesus and use a captivating story to immediately engage your listeners.

Just be careful to ensure your story is relevant to the point you want to get across.

Here are 7 remarkable stories you can use.

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4. Start With An Impactful Statement

When you’re writing your sermon introduction, start with a bold one-liner.

When you walk up the platform and stand at the pulpit, allow a few seconds of silence to hang in the air to build anticipation.

Then deliver your opening statement with power.

Today I’m going to teach you how to backslide in three easy steps.

As with opening questions, be sure that your statement will engage the audience immediately and make them want to hear what you have to say next.

An introductory sermon statement should be short and memorable. If you’ve ever listened to Andy Stanley preach, he will always say,

If you remember nothing else from my sermon today, today’s takeaway is…

Then proceed to summarise his whole sermon in a powerful one-liner.

And the simpler the better, sermons stick when they’re easy to remember.

“No sermon is ready for preaching, not ready for writing out, until we can express its theme in a short, pregnant sentence clear as crystal.”

5. Start By Giving A Call To Action 

Introduce your sermon content by telling your people what you expect from them. Tell people what you’re going to ask them to do.

Say something like, “At the end of this sermon, I’m going to ask you to…”

It’s unexpected, even kind of shocking.

Usually, people use their sermon introductions to build up a case, give reasons and then ask for life application at the end. 

Instead, you can just come right out and give them the action step at the intro.

I used this technique one time when I was writing a sermon introduction for a message called Servolution

The purpose of the message was to get more people to sign up as church volunteers.

I started my sermon like this:

At the end of this message, I’m going to ask you all to fill out the card in your seat.

And for the next 30 minutes, I’m going to do everything I can to convince you to serve.

That’s where we’re going and that’s what I’m going to ask you to do.

People didn’t expect that direct of an approach, but it worked as a great sermon introduction. 

6. Start With An Attention-Grabbing Question

Including poignant questions within your sermon intro is a powerful technique to engage your listeners from the very beginning of your sermon.

Don’t be too hasty to give answers, but instead get your people hungry for the answer you’re about to give.

You want to be sure to ask questions that people actually care about and ask them in a way they can recognize as being similar to their own. For example, beginning a sermon with the question,

If God is so good, then why do such bad things happen in the world?

is much more likely to resonate and connect with your congregation, than

Which theodicy best justifies God’s continuing allowance of moral and natural evil in the world?

7. Start With Shocking Facts & Statistics

A great way to start a sermon is to include some startling facts and statistics in your sermon introduction.

  • 1 in 3 marriages will end in divorce
  • 51% of Americans deny Jesus’ resurrection
  • Only 45% of regular church attenders read their Bible more than once a week

Statistics are a great way to quickly engage your listeners but be careful here, any time you’re going to use a fact or statistic that sounds incredible, make sure your sources are credible.

8. Start With Humour

Some of the best sermons I’ve listened to are full of humour.

Adding comedy value to your sermon introduction is a great way to get everybody on board and on your side from the get-go.

humour in preaching

For example, a young and nervous bride planning her wedding was increasingly terrified about her upcoming marriage.

To calm her nerves, she decided to have a Bible verse which had always brought her comfort (1  John 4:18, “There is no fear in love; for perfect love casts out fear“) engraved on her wedding cake.

So she called the caterer and all arrangements were made…

About a week before the wedding, she received a call from the catering company. “Is this really the verse you want on your cake?” they asked.

Yes, she confirmed, it was the one she wanted, and after a few more questions they said they would decorate the cake as requested.

The wedding day came, and everything was beautiful…

Until the reception, when the bride walked in to find the cake emblazoned with John 4:18:

For you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband.

Once you’ve introduced your sermon, try to use the irony found in the joke to point out a tension in the life of the listener to move through the rest of your sermon outline.

9. Start With Scripture

Write your sermon intro by diving straight into scripture.

There are certain scriptures like Psalm 22:1, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” that are so compelling that you can start simply by quoting it.

The Bible is full of compelling and intriguing verses like Proverbs 21:19:

It is better to live alone in the desert than with a crabby, complaining wife.

And Proverbs 26:11:

As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.

The key to starting your sermon introduction with scripture is to pick a portion of scripture which is relevant and to the point.

Make Your Next Sermon Your Best Sermon Yet

Good preaching makes or breaks a church.


90% of unchurched people choose a church based on the pastor’s preaching.

The good news is there are a ton of great preaching courses out there you can use to become a preaching ninja.

Here are the best ones we’ve reviewed so far…

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Now It’s Your Turn

Why one of these are you going to try next time you preach?

How do you write sermon introductions?

And what’s your favourite way to start a sermon strong?

Let us know in the comments! 🤗

And if you like this post, be sure to check out How To End A Sermon Well: 7 Ways To Finish With A Bang.

9 thoughts on “How To Write A Sermon Introduction: 9 Ways To Start Strong”

  1. Thanks for good illustrations of sermon preaching
    I have gained to learn GOD THE FATHER bless you


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