The first three minutes of the sermon determine the effectiveness of the whole message. Whether we preach twenty minutes or a half-hour, during these three minutes of the sermon it is crucial to “set the hook.” In school, your english instructor always told us that “What we write in the first two pages of a ten to fifteen page manuscript will either win or lose our audience”. 

The introduction of any particular sermon must be consistent with the purpose of the preaching, and that purpose most assuredly should come from prayer and guidance from the Holy Spirit. The sermon is our part of an ongoing dialogue with God’s people. It arises out of listening to them and to God in our study of HIS Word and prayer. We listen to our people in conversation and counseling with sensitivity to what is going on in them, their relationships, and their struggle with the soul-sized issues of justice and righteousness in our society. We need to know their deepest needs and most urgent questions, their greatest hopes and hurts. Once we as pastor have prayed earnestly about any situation, it is then that we allow the Holy Spirit to guide us on what the days preaching/teaching should be.