Connecting with your church family during your message is critical. You have poured hours of preparation into your sermon. The last thing you want is for the church family to fall asleep or daydream during your message. After all, your body language is 50% of your presentation, and if you fail in your delivery, you stand a chance of losing your audience.
Today, I want to give you a few reminders as you prepare for your next sermon or presentation.
9 Reminders for Every Preaching/Teaching Pastor
Learn Your Habits
After I preach, I will often ask a friend or my wife (or even rewatch the message myself) for feedback on the delivery. I want to know what distracted them about my presentation. What were my hands doing, my facial expressions, my posture, my gestures during the presentation? I want to know what habits I have that help or hinder the listener during the sermon.
Go Big with Your Body
You’re on stage with all eyes on you. SO GO BIG.
If you are using your arms, then stretch them out W-I-D-E or hold them up HIGH. Don’t use small gestures. Use LARGE ones that will grab the audience’s attention. Using LARGE hand gestures will feel awkward at first, but it will capture their attention.
Walk as You Talk
Not a lot, but just enough so that the audience must follow you with their eyes. You might want to put a reminder in your notes to step to one side or the other of the podium.
Inject Your Emotions
Like salt and pepper for a meal, emotions can season a presentation; however, don’t overdo it. Use the various emotions that God has given us to communicate the feeling of the message appropriately. Sadness, anger, crying, love and warmth, joy, excitement.
The Eyes are the Window of the Soul
I learned this early in ministry, and I use it every time I preach or teach. During my opening illustration, I try to make eye contact with as many people as possible. During this time, I am doing two things. First, I am communicating WITH my eyes that I love them, and I am excited to share God’s word with them. Second, I am scanning the crowd to find my allies. Allies are the people that I can tell are my “fans”. There might be a point in the message where I start to feel insecure about the message, I will make contact with that person, and at that moment, I regain my confidence and composure. I remember one such fan early in my ministry, Dianne; she always had a smile on her face and was always taking notes on the sermon. If I ever started feeling insecure, I would find Dianne’s bright smile and continue on with the sermon.
Use the Dramatic Pause
The dramatic pause is one of my favorite tools in my presentation toolbox. There are times when the word I want to use just doesn’t come to mind, so I use the dramatic pause. It’s kind of a cheat code for public speakers. Being silent during a massage has a way of grabbing the attention of everyone in the room.
I admit, when I preach, I can become white noise, so being silent for a moment can shake things up. Another use of the dramatic pause is to choreograph it into the message during a critical point or a transition.
Fluctuate Your Voice
Not much to say about this one, don’t be a monotone. Fluctuating also goes along with the point about using emotions as you speak.
Use a Podium (Size Matters)
I like using a small table or music stand. The table became popular with Andy Stanley, it was different, and again, it got people’s attention because it wasn’t a pulpit. There is nothing holy about what you use to speak behind. It’s a functional piece of furniture that we use to hold our notes and Bible. My advice is don’t go too big, don’t find your confidence in the podium (hiding behind it), find your confidence in your message and the fact that GOD called you to speak. My pastor doesn’t use a podium at all, he has his notes taped in his Bible and holds his Bible in his hands as he speaks.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Know your material and know your audience. I want to give you a few subpoints:
- Choreograph your movement; I spend about 5% of my sermon prep time thinking about HOW I want to speak and deliver the message and WHY I want to do certain things with my body language.
- Bring the energy, and you are preaching God’s word for life change. So BRING THE ENERGY! Be excited about preaching the Word of God!
- Visualize, part of my sermon prep time is devoted to visualizing the delivery. I usually lay down in a quiet place, close my eyes, and envision myself on stage delivering the message. Sometimes, If I have a uniquely vital message to deliver (I know every message is important), I will go to the church and rehearse the message the night before. I practice my walking, voice fluctuation, hand gestures, and use of emotions. Sometimes, I even have a friend or my wife watch the rehearsal and give me feedback. I remember my time in bible college, and our homiletics prof would have us practice in front of a mirror. The point is this; Practice, Practice, Practice.
I want to coach you to be the best pastor you can be for God’s glory. I’ve been where you’re at, insecure, unsure, and burned out. Let’s talk, your consultation is free, and there is no obligation to commit. Call me today.