Reader Voices: How to open a church talk

I have given church talks for more than 57 years (this is a monumental feat since I am only 50 years old), and I have yet to come up with the perfect opener for a talk.

Most of my talks start out with, "When Brother Cannon asked me to speak ...," and the congregation automatically tunes out, way out. I can tell because suddenly the hymn numbers on that little plaque behind me suddenly become the most interesting feature on the planet. This used to be an OK way to start, I think, but I get a vague sense that the congregation has heard this act before, like a church talk mantra or something that must be said for good luck or else the curses of all ages will descend upon us like a specialized plague of blue death upon our children and children’s children.

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