Finishing well: conclusions

It is astonishing how often we (preachers, students, writers…) put more effort into openings than conclusions. Of course openings matter. If this opening is too dull you will slick on to another site and I’ll have no readers.

BUT, conclusions also matter, if a reader/listener has made it all the way to the end of your 40 minute sermon, your 2,000 word essay, or even just your 300 word blog post, they deserve a reward!

Currently I am again finishing marking and also moderating student assignments (from the Summer Session). At least 9 out of 10 essays end badly. It is not that they are tragedies (stories whose plotline goes like this ∩)1 but it is a tragedy. Apart from the pictures, or illustrative stories, the concluding words are what people are most likely to remember.

We should always end with a clear strong statement of the thing that matters most about our sermon, essay, or blog post. Failure to do this cheats your reader — worse it cheats precisely those readers who have stuck it out to the end — of what they most need, a clear memorable summary of what you were saying.

[By the way that means that, cinema conventions being different, the ending of those old Loony Tunes cartoons is not at all the way we should end written work! Don’t just say ‘that’s all folks!’ rather sum up your main point, simply and clearly.]

So, end your blog post, essay, sermon… well, give a clear simple summary. Like this!

  1. As opposed to comedies that go like this U :) []

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