If you’re still one who prints their sermon scripts, here’s some tips I’ve picked up from others;
- Print to read at a glance; Use 15pt font or larger, double spaced, 2cm margins
- Serif fonts (e.g. Times) are easier to read fast than Sans-serif fonts (the pointy tips on the characters help the eye flow onto the next character).
- If you lean against your lectern, it’s worth keeping the lower third of your page empty because otherwise you’ll need to tilt your head down to read it.
- Print page numbers, just in case they get out of order
- List any props or slides you need to remember on the top of the first page (no use remembering half way through your talk when you actually need them)
- Don’t print on both sides of the page (you’ll forget whether to flip or discard each page)
- Most printing preachers I’ve seen choose not to place their finished page at the back of their stack as they go. Rather, they slide each page to the right, keeping two pages face up, and end up with a reverse-ordered stack at the end of the talk.
- Write your opening prayer, but don’t write you closing one. Each talk lands slightly differently, so it’s worth praying from that uniqueness because its not a lecture, it’s not an mp3; it’s the word of The Lord for those there at that unique instance. Pray for them.
There’s lots of communication tools one can use while preaching; illustrations are the most well known. Another method of communicating an idea is to keep using different synonyms.
It’s where you take one idea from the verse you’re looking at and explain it by defining it again and again.
E.g. (From yesterday’s post) Jesus is the King; the ruler, the sovereign, the all powerful, the master of the universe, the final judge of all things, the most excellent, most praiseworthy, most important, most wonderful and fearsome human who ever lived, and the one you will have to give an account to at the end of time.
Does it work? Yes and no.
It’s probably not a great explanatory tool… Every synonym needs its own explaination. But it is a very good focusing tool. It helps our hearers feel the weight of one idea in the verse. It’s like a big sign saying “watch out! Big idea here!”
Therefore, it’s a communication tool to use sparingly.
I wonder if you should – in your mind at least – start the application from your very first words.
See, if it’s the application of the truths of the bible, then understanding and being convicted of the truths are integral to the application.
Don’t we want our hearers to believe everything we say (assuming it’s true)?
And, if the application rightly flows out of the teaching, then all that teaching should be building up to that point, it is like pulling back a sling-shot before letting it fly.
Shouldn’t we be thinking, “I really want them to get this point so they understand the application better!”
Whether you’re leading a growth group, preaching a sermon or just a one on one… don’t just say everything and rely on people’s hearing and memory. If they are listening to you, they’ll be able to finish your sentence.
What’s more; people remember what they say 1000% more than they remember what others say. You ask someone what they learned in your GrowthGroup last night, and they’ll rattle off WHAT THEY SAID – regardless of what the passage/study was about.
Also, getting people to finish your sentences forces them to do serious thinking; it requires listening, understanding, integration, creativity, boldness and humility. Don’t deny them that.
Lastly, if you let people finish your sentences, there’s even a chance they’ll find a word that picks up everything you want, but communicates it even… ?
There seems to be a common formula in modern preaching, it’s not bad, but it’s just worth thinking about. Often a preacher will apply a passage in two ways. First for the non-Christian, and then, once they’ve been invited to trust Christ, there’s a second application for the Christian. It goes something like, “ok, what does this mean for you if you’re a Christian then?”
There’s some very good reasons for doing it this way… It models the right thing to the right people. It says that you come to Jesus first, trust him, and in response to his grace, you live a certain way. All good.
However, I wonder if people are just more likely to remember the last thing they hear?
I also wonder if even our Christian brothers and sisters need to be reminded of grace again and again?
What if we applied the passage to our lives, and then said… “That’s a tall order isn’t it. In fact it’s impossible for us. But God forgives in Christ. God transforms in Christ. God helps through Christ’s spirit. Does that make you want to try and do it all the more?”
Does ending on grace show that we’re all in the same boat, needing to be saved?
Exegeting a biblical passage or theme isn’t not enough to do excellent application. The other type of exegesis needed is to deeply exegete the heart of yourself and your audience.
What will they first think when they hear this?
How will they be likely to reject it?
Why don’t they already believe and behave in accordance to it?
How has the Spirit already been applying this to their hearts and lives?
Where have you seen fruit like the passage expects?
What type of soil will this word be likely to land on?
What lies are you tempted to believe rather than just accept what God’s word says?
What would your life look like if you really were 100% convinced of this?
Know your people, know yourself, know Jesus.