Too often, teachers hurriedly wrap up the lesson when they realize their time is out. "And may God help us to apply these truths to our lives." But that's too general. If you fail to give your students something specific to do with the lesson, they may leave with merely a fog of ideas. Remember, our goal is not to simply keep their attention (hearers of the Word), but to produce life change (doers of the Word).
I often hear people say of my messages "thanks for showing us how to live it out." I think they're saying that I gave them specific, doable action points. Here are some ways to sharpen your conclusions.
- Go back to your purpose statement. Ask yourself: "How can I best challenge the students to live out this statement?"
- Practice your conclusion until you feel confident. > Hendricks compares many speakers to desperate pilots who are low on fuel, circling the airport trying to find a place to land. They keep saying, "In conclusion," "To wrap things up," but they keep plodding along, losing momentum as they go.
- Consider saving the point that you want them to remember most, or that is most easily applied, till the final point. This helps you to flow right into your conclusion.
- If you want to end with an opportunity to receive Christ, end with a point that easily leads into the gospel. I.e., shows a great benefit of the Christian life, or the need to trust a power beyond our selves.
- Some can�t "land" their message because they can�t transition into their conclusion smoothly. >Plan your transitions well. I often write them out and highlight them.
- Think hard about your youth. What temptations are they facing? What are their insecurities, their fears, their dreams? With your students in mind, pray that God will direct you to a way to pull it all together for them. Then, give them specifics that they can do to apply the message. .
- I often >get them thinking about application from the introduction. "Let�s pray that tonight�s lesson will go further than our heads and get into our hearts. Pray that one or more points will stand out to you as we go through this message." Encourage them to star the items most applicable to them though the lesson. Remind them, "Some of you need to star this item," as you cover certain points. During conclusion time, you can have them write out the starred items in the "Action Points" section at the end of their student sheets. This approach gets them actively involved in seeking God�s message for them during the lesson.