Introductions – General or Specifics

speaking conference crowd

I was listening to Alistair Begg preach, and in his introduction, he began by referring to his love of watching soccer – “football.”  He introduced the concept of “a team.”  It became obvious that he was going to transition from the concept of “team” to . . . .

  • “the church”
  • “the Christian community”
  • “one-another”

However, as he spoke about soccer, he narrowed it down to more than just the concept of “teamwork.”  He did not just talk about his watching of soccer to introduce the word “team,” or “teamwork.”  Rather, he spoke about teamwork in more specific terms, in terms of what happens during the actual playing of soccer . . . .

Typically, a speaker will just use an introduction to introduce the general concept, to introduce the word or words . . . .

  • “team”
  • “teamwork”
  • “team spirit”

The typical introduction goes something like this . . . .

“I was watching a number of soccer games this week and was again reminded how important it is for a team to work as a team.   As we know, the word “team” does not include the letter “I.”  For a team to be effective, all must work together.”

Alistair Begg brought the audience further into the game of soccer and further into the concept of “teamwork” by being more specific, by describing the actual working of a team.  He spoke about teamwork in more specific terms.  He wasn’t interested in just getting to the concept or word “team.”  Rather, he brought the audience into how the game of soccer actually works in terms of what happens in the actual play of a soccer match . . . .

In watching them I’ve been struck again by the obvious . . . . the teams that are consistently good  . . . . despite the fact that they have a number of the stars that are highly paid . . . . As I’ve watched them  . . . . I’ve realized again . . . .that their strength does not lie in their individual talent but their strength lies in their play as a team . . . in their giving themselves up for each other . . . . in sacrificing the potential for personal glory on the cause of team victory . . . very obvious things needed to be done properly . . . . taking passes in such a way that you can control the ball . . . running into space, sometimes again and again and again and never receiving a true pass, but being prepared continually to run into space to make themselves available for that moment when opportunity and desire will coincide . . . . and suddently their effectiveness becomes apparent . . . and all in all, I noticed that their success . . . is largely due . . . to selflessness.


  • When you do that . . . .
  • When you think past the general (“teamwork”). . . .
  • When you become more specific concerning that general topic and go to “running to space” . . . .

THEN LATER, at a point in time, you can come back to some of those actual specifics which you included in that introduction and intensify / clarify / drive home the point. . . .

Let me run with that comment that Begg makes in his introduction . . . these are now my words added to his . . . My words illustrate how you can run with an idea (and you can even use it throughout or at the end again).

“There will be times, in a local church setting, that members will run into space, and sometimes again and again and again, never really having that opportunity which he or she desires.  They are there . . . on the field . . .  and make it possible by their moves to help others score!”

Yes, there will be times, in a local church setting, that members will run into space, and sometimes . . . . again and again and again . . . . never really having that opportunity which he or she desires, but by so doing they are playing for the team . . . . for the cause of team victory . . . for the kingdom.”

In fact, Begg could have included a couple more specifics as it relates to soccer . . . . (my words)

“There is the goalie  or keeper who spends most of his time watching the game move back and forth, but is there for that critical moment when a teammate or teammates were unable to prevent an attack on the goal.”

Depending on what element of play one might want to highlight you could even point to a particular position — “backs . . . . forwards . . . strikers . . . backs . . . . sweepers . . . subs”

You could point to the fact that each player has a specific role, and a necessary role and each has the responsibility of being at, and stay at, a particular location on that field for the time when . . . . or unless. . . .

Throughout, or at least in the conclusion, you can again grab some of the illustrative imagery found in the game and which you had developed earlier . . . .(again – my words as I push the imagery) . . . .

“You may be one of the players who exerts a lot of energy, running across large swatches of the field . . . It may look like you have not accomplished very much to those watching, but you have played a very significant role in that you have made victory posible for the Gospel team as they continually seek to score for the sake of the Kingdom.  You sweeping across the field has made a difference even if you were not the one to score the goal you so desired to make for the Lord.”

Rather than going “General – teamwork,” the speaker can get more specific, but only because “the specifics” will give the speaker some further applicational imagery that can illustrate, strengthen, clarify, intensify, drive the point(s) being made!

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