Like you, I love to wrap up a message with an emotionally charged story that punctuates the main point in a way that leaves the audience gasping for breath and reaching for their Kleenex. And every once in a while God graces us with those closing illustrations. But for the other fifty-one weeks of the year we need something else. That’s where WE comes in.
This final component of the message is an opportunity for you to rejoin your audience as you did in the beginning of the message when you circled up around your shared frailty, questions, misgivings or temptations. WE is really about vision casting. It is a moment of inspiration. It is the point in the message when you paint a verbal picture of what could be and should be. In this closing moment you call upon your audience to imagine what the church, the community, families, maybe even the world would be like if Christians everywhere embraced your one idea.
Imagine a church where “love one another” was the theme rather than a memory verse for children. Imagine a community dotted with homes where husbands really loved their wives like Christ loved the church. Imagine what would happen in culture if thousands of teenagers abandoned the lie that purity was optional and basically irrelevant. Imagine what could happen in one week if everybody here treated everybody they came into contact with like someone for whom Christ died. Imagine what would happen if for three months we all managed our money as if everything really belongs to God.
This is where you come out from behind whatever it is you preach from and stand off to the side of the stage, as close as you can get to the lip of the stage and dream out loud. Dream on behalf of your church families, singles, kids, churches, the kingdom. This is when you remind your audience that the Scriptures were given not just as a means of making our individual lives better. They were given so that as a body, corporately, we could shine like a beacon of hope in our communities, our neighborhoods, and in the marketplace.
Imagine what WE could do together. — Communicating for a Change: Seven Keys to Irresistible Communication (Andy Stanley and Lane Jones)