There are lots of ways to introduce a sermon. This was a helpful reflection on some different approaches.
‘Mariology has its main raison d’être not in seeking a biblical foundation (even though the Bible is rhetorically evoked). Rather, its foundation is affective, emotional, and maternal. At the conclusion of the evening, a nun, visibly shaken and displeased, publicly asked me: “In short, how can you not pray to Mary? She is our mother after all!” Here, again, in this question and in this statement lies the whole of Roman Catholic Mariology. Mariology is not so much interested in biblical teaching but is enveloped in deep aspirations of the heart that are apparently not met by the living person of Christ, who has restored fellowship with the Father in the Holy Spirit.’
Here is an exhortation not to apologize for boldly following Christ.
You do have a membership class, don’t you? You certainly should. Thom Rainer here does his thing and offer some helpful words of wisdom on making your membership classes more effective.
I’ve been meaning to get this book by Peter J. Williams on the historicity of the gospels. Here is a helpful review of the book. If you deal with those who have questions about the accuracy and veracity of the Bible, this would be a good place to start.
‘You do have a right to ask the hard questions of the under-equipped young person who wants to go out and change the world. We do have the responsibility of evaluating the fruit of evangelism methods of the past. It’s okay to delve into the potentially harmful impact of the short-term team. It’s important to question the methods of a ministry strategy that may actually be hindering the gospel.’
‘I can’t remember every book I ever read and I certainly don’t recall every sermon I ever heard. There is no doubt that some of them were more interesting than others, some were better than others. But I know that the things I believe now, the person I am now, has been formed more fulsomely by the hundreds of ‘ordinary’ sermons and books I have read far more than the most memorable conferences and brilliantly written books.’