A Friend of mine asked me if had any good “Openers” for a sermon he was going to give at the local Lutheran High School chapel. After giving a little thought, I told him that I had one I’ve used many times, and it pulls the teen right in-without fail. I told him that you could speak on just about anything after you do this opener. It gets their attention by getting them to interact with you, they think you are funny, and they are ready to hear whatever it is you have to say for the next 20 minutes or so. Here is what I wrote to my friend about the illustration:

I usually start by saying something like, “It is great to be here… but before we go to0 far I want to see if you are ready to be honest…everyone stand up!”

“Today we are going to open with a little game of honesty. Everyone stand up…

Now here is how this is going to work. The only rule is that you have to be absolutely honest! How you play is simple: I am going to read 10 statements or so, and if the statement I read is true about you, then you need to sit down or stand up. For this first one you are all standing, so if after I read this first statement, and it is true about you, then sit down. Then as I read the following statements, if they are true about you, do the opposite of what you are doing – standing or sitting. Got it?! You’ll get it… let’s go…”

Alright, first one –

  1. Sit down if you didn’t brush your teeth this morning
  2. Stand up or sit down if you’ve ever cheated on a test
  3. Stand up or sit down if you’ve peed in a pool in the last 2 years
  4. Stand up or sit down if you like someone here and they don’t know it yet
  5. Stand up or sit down if you are still scared of the dark
  6. Stand up or sit down if you told your parents you were going somewhere, but you actually went somewhere else
  7. Stand up or sit down if you’ve practiced kissing on something other than a person (I tell a story about catching my sister kissing a pillow here)
  8. Stand up or sit down … (something specific to the crowd (i.e. something only Luthern High students would know/do) – this show you’ve dove into their culture, add more if you have ’em)
  9. Stand up or sit down if you think you’re good looking
  10. Stand up or sit down if the person next to you just answered “yes” to the last statement and you disagree

A Few things to note:

  • I always pause a bit and laugh with them. I throw short stories in there to make them laugh (like the one about my sister, or how I am still scared of the dark, etc.).
  • After the last one, they are usually laughing pretty hard, so even while they are laughing, in a fun-tone I will instruct them to “sit down sit down…”
  • I tie it back to the sermon by saying something like, “Today we are going to talk about ______ and look and see what God’s Word has to say about _____. But the only way this time together will be life-changing is if you are willing to be honesty about where you are at and where you need to be…”

I hope that this is helpful!

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