Stand and Deliver Resources
Part A: Getting Ready
Regardless of how smooth - or clumsy! - our words, an audience can often get a sense of the attitude of the speaker. As preachers we aren't only concerned with the mechanics of preparing and delivering a talk. We're also thinking about the heart behind it.
The Apostle Paul said: “If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal” (1 Corinthians 13:1).
We want to speak from a place of love. This doesn’t mean we say everything with a sweet smile or syrupy voice! But we want to cultivate an attitude of love in our preparation and our delivery. In Part B: Preparing a talk (coming soon) we'll further explore how we cultivate an attitude of love when preparing a sermon.
Within the broader attitude of love, an attitude of humility will serve both us and our audience well. In fact, humility can actually help us be more confident in our preaching!
You may have heard the popular quote: "Humility is not thinking less of yourself. It's thinking of yourself less". A humble preacher is not someone who laments about what a rubbish speaker they are. A humble preacher is simply focused more on the message and the people hearing it than they are on themselves.
Humility in speaking is not thinking you are 'not very good' or not worth listening to; rather it’s recognising that we’re all in this together, and that God will use each of us in different ways to help each other learn and grow through this journey. At this point in time you have been given the microphone. Next week it may be someone else, and you’ll get the privilege of being the one sitting and listening!
This is how humility can actually help us preach more confidently. When we approach preaching with humility, it takes some of the pressure off: we don't put expectation on ourselves to suddenly become an all-knowing super-spiritual sage the moment we take the stage! Remember the ‘why?’. We have a message to share and we want to share it. That is why we are up the front; not because we are supposed to be operating on a higher spiritual plane to those in the seats. Phew!
Here are some practical ways we can operate in humility when we preach:
- We can try to use the word ‘us’ more than the word ‘you’.
- We can be honest about our level of experience. We can speak on things without having extensive experience in them, as long as we’re honest about where we’re coming from! For example:
- If we're giving a seminar on marriage and we’ve only been married three years, we can say so upfront and consider phrasing our message as ‘what I’ve learnt so far…’ rather than positioning ourselves as a marriage expert!
- If preaching on a heavy topic such as ‘suffering’ and we haven’t really experienced much suffering in our life, we can be honest about this and consider including stories of people who have experienced genuine suffering.
- We can share about our failures as well as our victories. We don’t need to beat ourselves up, but we can share about times we’ve struggled or made mistakes.
This content is provided free, however all content is copyright Redhill Church unless stated otherwise (we refer to the work of other individuals and organisations throughout - see list in Part D). So feel free use these resources personally and in your own church, however if reproducing this content please ensure all copyright holders are credited accordingly.