I'm challenging myself for 6 weeks in taking some intentional steps toward improving the effectiveness of my preaching. I can use some improving for sure, as I know many preachers can. Maybe these steps can help you too
Note: I am currently blessed to be able to preach around 6 times per week. If you don't preach very often, you may need to stretch these 6 weeks out to 6 months.
Two weeks down, and I've already seen myself easily slip back into some old habits. I am definitely making some improvements, however, where I have set out to make improvements. They might not be drastic improvements, but... you know... "babysteps."
The area I want to work on this week will be a bit harder to see immediate results, but it is an area where I (and I would suspect many, many preachers) really need some work.
Week 3 - Sentence structure (vocabulary and clarity)
There are few things worse, for the effectiveness of a sermon, than getting ready to make an important point and not being able to find the right words to say. The words don't come, so you fall back on some old "crutches" and stammer "Uh, uh, uh..." and begin using phrases like "...You know...such and such...and what have you.." (Anyway, if you didn't figure it out, those are some of my "crutches.") We may be able to get our points across that way, but (whether knowingly or unknowingly) it puts the people on edge and make it hard for them to follow us. Worse yet, they might just tune us out totally.
The point here isn't to become so formal and scripted with our words that we lose our audience and come across as phony and impersonal. The point is simply to have an arsenal of words ready to be pulled out at a moment's notice and to be able to pull them out smoothly and effortlessly. Let's face it, that is going to require a lot of study, diligence... and just plain, old experience.
So here are the challenges of the week that I will be working on I want to offer the challenge to others:
Let me know if you try it or if you have any other suggestions that might help. God bless you, and my your passion for ministry grow as you addict yourself to it (1 Corinthians 16:15)
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