The Distance Between Finally and Amen

Even if you don’t use the words “in conclusion,” or “and finally,” your listeners should be able to perceive that you’re in the closing section of your message — if you have built the sermon around an intuitive, easy-to-follow format.

Your listeners will know you’re wrapping it up, and they’ll be ready for you to bring the message home — sooner rather than later.

When checkmate is your next move, you don’t waste time re-arranging your pawns. You finish the game.

In the same way, the conclusion needs to be concise. It’s not the time to be funny, or to tell a story that just came to mind, or to introduce new ideas. It’s the time to make your final move: bring your message together with a practical, do-able ten-second-take-away that your listeners can put to use in their daily lives. And make your call to decision.

If you have built your message well, your listeners will already be asking: What can I do? What should I do next? Don’t make them wait for the answer. Once the “and finally…” part of the message begins, bring it to a close as efficiently as you can.

And then you can say Amen.