Church sermons can be either the most interesting or the most tedious parts of a church service. Poorly done sermons can seem to drag on for hours as you watch the eyes of your congregation glaze over or wander around the room just waiting for it to end. On the other hand, great sermons can inspire reflection, action, and self-exploration within your congregation. While the meat of your sermon will mostly be reading from the text and some interpretation of the verses, a strong closing can hammer that point home. Here are three ways to close out a sermon.

Make it Personal

Putting a little bit of yourself into the sermon is a great way to make it more impactful. In more formal churches, sometimes people can forget that the pastor or minister is a person too, just like the rest of us. Telling a story about yourself, or how you may have struggled with the topic at hand in your past and how scripture or the church community helped you overcome it (brownie points if it’s also the story of how you found Christ) can give people that personal connection and show that it is possible to persevere.

Call to Action

Giving your congregation a call to action is a great way to close out a sermon. It gives them something to think about and gives them a call to action to improve themselves. For example, if your topic is forgiveness, challenge them to forgive someone they’re still holding a grudge with or who wronged them. Maybe not publicly or reaching out to them to reconcile, but simply letting go of that anger in their own heart. While you probably won’t ask by a show of hands that took the call to action, it does offer your congregation something they can hold themselves accountable for or something to delve into deeper if your church has small support groups and communities outside of service.

Don’t be Afraid of Tough Subjects

Sometimes it’s important to tackle things that people don’t want to address. When it comes to the bible, many people are open to letting God into their lives and letting him work in them… except for ‘that’ (be it their sex life, drinking, smoking, finances, etc.). If you don’t address these challenging topics and shine a light on them, people likely won’t do it themselves and can find themselves with some very serious vices in the process. While it might be a bit awkward and a bit of forewarning before the sermon goes a long way, covering a more difficult or taboo topic every so often can have an overall beneficial effect on your congregation by forcing them to examine themselves and where they might be struggling.