In our journey to become a better communicator as a preachers/teachers we have learned many valuable and practical lessons from numerous resources.
Below are 11 tips (in no particular order) that we would like to share with you so you could apply and continue to grow. Don’t try applying all the tips at once; just chose one or two to incorporate into your next message/speaking assignment.
1. Don’t waste words, especially at the beginning. The first words in your message are some of the most important. Don’t waste them with small talk, referencing the preceding song, or commenting on the weather. Start with something strong right out of the gate.
2. Stories say it best. You’ve listened to speakers too, and, chances are, when the speaker told a personal story, your interest level increased. There’s something about stories that cause people to lean in. So make sure you tell a story every ten minutes or so. “Stories are the most powerful delivery tool for information, more powerful and enduring than any other art form,” writes Nancy Duarte.
3. Don’t hide in the “greenroom”. Connecting with real people before your message is one of the most powerful things you can do. Last minute study is a sign of poor preparation and while some last minute prayers are always appropriate, that doesn’t mean you can’t speak a few words to people in the congregation. Leave the green room mentality and shake hands with people.
4. Find common ground. People don’t think preachers have real lives, real marriages or real struggles, so the fact that you’re a preacher is NOT instant credibility. Make sure you find common ground with your audience to let them know that you share some of their struggles, doubts and feelings.
5. Finish on time. Whether you use a countdown clock or a watch, it’s a good idea to stick to the allotted time. The Gettysburg Address has only 300 words. Nobody remembers the other guy who spoke that day (who spoke for a couple of hours). Besides, nobody ever got mad at the preacher for finishing a few minutes early.
6. Know your material. Before you deliver your message to anyone else, you should preach it to yourself. Be familiar with your content so you can preach from your heart. A reliance on notes could be a sign that you don’t know your material.
7. Be interesting. Helpful content that doesn’t engage the audience won’t have the desired effect. In other words, be interesting. Boring presentations, lifeless information, and passionless points will sail right over the head of the congregation. And over the head misses the heart every time. It’s absolutely imperative that you have accurate, Biblical content. But it’s equally important to present it in a way that connects.
8. Present Jesus as the hero. Not the audience, not you, not even the church. No matter your topic, you can find a way to point to Jesus. By the way, that’s exactly what Jesus did when he opened up the Old Testament scriptures and connected the dots for people.
9. Make people laugh. Everybody wants to laugh, and you don’t need to disrespect God’s Word or be a comedian to make people smile in church. Proverbs 17:22 says a joyful heart is good medicine. So let’s not talk about a boring God with lifeless sermons and give people the impression that God has no personality. God created laughter…it’s okay for it to happen in church.
10. Preach to inspire action, not just to inform. What do you want people to DO as the result of hearing this message? When Peter finished preaching in Acts 2, he told the people exactly what they should do (repent and be baptized). Make sure you’re not just presenting information but calling people to action.
11. Add some visuals. Whether it’s a graphic, or a slide, a prop or an object lesson, look for ways to make your words visual. Study after study shows this is the key to rememberability. If this doesn’t come natural to you, fight through the hard work…it’s worth it.
We genuinely pray these tips help you.
Thanks for letting us serve you!