Too many pastors work hard all week preparing a sermon only to be met with yawns and empty stares when they deliver it. So, how can you make sure this doesn’t happen to you?
While I’m certainly no expert when it comes to preaching, I have found that there are at least eight steps that help keep an audience engaged and produce a greater impact.
- Be Passionate About Your Topic
- You stand a much greater chance of persuading and inspiring your listeners if you express an enthusiastic, passionate, and meaningful connection to your topic.
- Sharing your passion makes you feel less nervous about speaking in front of an audience.
- In order to do great work, you need to love what you do.
- Passion is a positive, intense feeling that you experience for something that is profoundly meaningful for you as an individual.
- It’s very difficult to electrify your congregation without feeling an intense, meaningful connection to the content of your message.
- The passion that man has for his own personal growth is the most important thing.
- Tell Stories
- You reach people’s minds, when you touch their hearts.
- Take your audience on a journey.
- The most popular presentations start with a personal story.
- The ability to tell a personal story is an essential trait of authentic leadership.
- Curiosity and mystery are powerful ways to get an audience’s attention.
- Personal stories are stories about yourself, but they can also be stories about other people with whom the audience can empathize.
- Empathy is the capacity to recognize and feel emotions experienced by somebody else.
- Have a Conversation
- Practice relentlessly and internalize your content so that you can deliver the message as comfortably as having a conversation with a close friend.
- Your uncertainty will reflect in your expressions and body language. So, practice, practice, practice.
- Be willing to record yourself and watch it back.
- The verbal equivalent of a highlighter is to raise or lower the volume of your voice, change the speed at which you deliver the words, and/or set aside the key word or phrase with a pause before or after voicing it.
- Gestures actually give the audience confidence in the speaker.
- Don’t keep your hands bound when you preach they should be free. One hand in your pocket is acceptable as long as the free hand is gesturing.
- Your gestures should be natural, not forced, people will notice.
- Make it a point to get out from behind the pulpit and move around the stage.
- Movement and energy are intimately connected.
- Teach Your Audience Something New or Something in a New Way
- You can’t change the David and Goliath story, but you can package it differently, or offer a fresh perspective on the topic.
- As long as your message gives your audience something new they can use in their daily lives, you’ll hook them.
- Sometimes the text you present might not be earthshaking, but that doesn’t mean you can’t deliver it in a fresh way.
- You can grab an audience’s attention if you can teach them just one thing they didn’t know before.
- Before you can teach something in a new way, you have to learn it yourself.
- Constantly be looking for ways to learn. Read books, listen to other people preach, etc.
- If you can’t explain your big idea in 140 characters or less, keep working on your message. The discipline brings clarity to your preaching and helps your audience recall the one big idea you’re trying to teach them.
To Be Continued…
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