Recently, a church planter dear friend asked me to comment on his preaching. As I wrote him, it was a good reminder to myself about my own preaching. So, I thought it may help others as well. I don’t think of myself as a pro at this, and often have Sunday night thoughts like, “Who in the world do I think I am preaching to anyone? I need to just sit down and be quiet.” Do you ever feel that way–especially after you feel pretty sure you just bombed it royally? Well, join the club. Maybe this will remind you or encourage you–hopefully it won’t discourage you.
1. Continue to hone your points to make them short and understandable. You had three good points and they flowed out of the text well. Part of making them short and understandable comes from how you tie them into each other. This is where it seemed to me a little dis-jointed perhaps. This will come with more experience and a consistent tweaking of your transition sentences. Learning how to “flow” your messages is one of the hardest things to do. I still struggle with this, but as you put the message together, keep reading and re-reading your text to make sure that the transition sentences are clear and to the point and then connecting. You are improving in so many ways, but I think this is one area that you can specifically work on that will help in your communication.
2. Illustrate – This is another area that I struggle with. When you illustrate, use illustrations that many will be able to connect with and then even state the connection clearly. I enjoyed the illustrations that you used but it took a little of my own thoughts to connect with what you were saying. Stating the connection will more clearly give precision to your words.
3. Application – perhaps the most difficult. Everyone struggles with this. How does this apply to real life? Some of this will come more and more clear to you as you get older and more experience. I already see a growth in your preaching here. Getting down to where the rubber meets the road is very important. I think the message of the gospel could have been even more clearly stated in your application. You talked about the gospel, but it is important that you not think that your audience knows automatically what you are saying when you use that term. It is really used loosely today and I think it needs to be very clear in the application especially. State the good news and the reason for the need of good news clearly and make precise application for each hearer as you can.
4. Make good eye contact. Let your mind and heart land on the individual. You have a tendency to look “quickly” over the audience and then back to your notes. Work hard at taking time to make good eye contact with many of your people so they sense your love for them as individuals. Do what you can do to draw them into your preaching. Let the love of Christ for you shine out of you and into them through your preaching. This will happen as you ask God to energize your heart to love them–each of them. Speak God’s truth into their lives while you preach–this will help you look at them with care in your eyes.
Hope this helps some. I know I struggle with each of these things and often feel like I don’t do it well myself. So, I preach these things to myself often.
Let me know if you need any clarification and at the same time, don’t beat yourself up with these words. They are meant to encourage your heart.
Grace to you!