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Pablo A. Jiménez
Believe that your sermon will make a
difference in the life of the listeners.
Maintain a positive attitude and a fraternal
Transmit self-assurance and conviction.
Do not mock yourself or question your own
abilities in front of the congregation.
The goal: To create the perfect ambience to
hear the Gospel.
Before the worship service
Research your sermon thoroughly.
Have adequate physical, mental, and
Review your manuscript, outline or
sermon notes. Read it aloud, at least
twice. You may highlight key words in
your manuscript or write the keywords
at the margins.
If you are a guest preacher…
Please be early.
Get to know the church building
and the pulpit before the service
Greet people warmly.
During the worship service
Worship! Participate actively in the
Do not “play” with your notes. Do not
stack compulsively your notes.
Warm your vocal cords. Sing a couple
of stanzas of a hymn in the lowest
possible pitch. Do not abuse your voice,
If you are too nervous…
Remember that there are no reasons to
be nervous. This is a friendly
environment. The congregation is
wishing you the best.
Pray! That is the best way to relieve
Breathe! Deep rhythmic breathing will
relax you, regulating your blood flow.
If you are still nervous…
Exercise #1: Close your eyes.
Breathe deeply. Hold your breath
for a second. Then, release the air
very slowly. (Do not overdue it,
otherwise you might get sleepy).
Exercise #2: Order your body to
relax, limb by limb.
If nothing else works...
Exercise #3: Discreetly, make a fist
with one of your hands. Increase
the pressure, holding the closed fist
for several seconds. Then, open
your hand very slowly. Repeat the
exercise if necessary. (You may
even perform this exercise while
If you are the guest preacher…
In some churches there is a formal
introduction of the preacher. If you are so
introduced, respond with humility and
Do not begin your sermon with an extended
series of greetings and anecdotes. You may
always greet people and reminisce after the
worship service is over.
During the sermon
Prepare your sermon thoroughly.
Read in an interpretative fashion.
Step back from the lectern, at least from
1’ to 1’6”. If you are too close you may
tend to “bury” your face in the
Never play with your notes. That is a
sign of boredom or nervousness.
Use your natural voice. Avoid the
“preachers voice” syndrome.
Maintain an adequate volume during the
Do not allow your voice to fade at the end
of phrases or sentences.
Do not shout. Use pauses and silences for
Vary the tone, volume, speed, and
intonation of your delivery.
Keep an average pace. Do not speak
too fast or too slowly.
Limit the use of “pet” words or phrases.
Preach! Do not limit yourself to reading.
Some problems, such as a very high pitch,
may be the result of anxiety and stress.
Relaxation exercises would help correct
Both Fasol and Bartow suggest in the
books exercises that preachers may
perform in order to develop their voice.
These exercises may be practiced daily for
extended periods of time.
Use the microphones effectively. Step
back (at least a foot away) from the mike.
Step further back if you increase your
volume in order to add emphasis. Actually,
one of the best ways of emphasizing a
phrase is saying it slowly and softly while
you lean toward the microphone.
Lapel mikes limit the modulation or your
Body language I
Different postures would transmit different
Centered body: Implies internalization and
evaluation. Should be using during pauses
Leaning back: Indicates that the preacher is
pondering a topic or that he or she may have
some reservations about it.
Leaning forward: Suggests intimacy and
Body language II
Moving from side to side: Hints indecision or
Open arms: Transmits the idea that the
preacher is open to receive new ideas.
Closed arms: Implies anger, rejection and
Should be avoided, if possible.
To control your body movements, stand
up with a foot slightly in front of the
The “center” of your body must face the
audience. Never turn your back to the
audience during the sermon.
Be honest. Remember that only born or
trained actors can transmit emotions that they
really do not feel.
Your facial expressions are the most
important vehicle for transmitting emotions.
Use suggestive gestures. Do not use imitative
Gestures must slightly precede the words.
Do not point with your fingers. It is better to
point with your open hand. Fingers are used
in almost every to express obscenities. For
example, the “OK sign” is obscene in most of
Do not run your fingers through your hair.
Some gestures related to hair have sexual
Be natural. Congregations reject
preachers that “overact.”
Limit involuntary or nervous
If your body language does not agree
with your verbal language, there will be
added “noise” in the communication
In other words, when there is a conflict
between word and action, it is the action
that is believed, not the word.
Charles L. Bartow
Look at your audience.
If you are reading your manuscript, deliver
the phrases facing your congregation.
Pick persons as points of reference.
Keep the whole congregation in your range of
vision. Do not stare only toward one side or a
particular group of persons.
Take to the pulpit only those materials that
may be indispensable.
If possible, place your notes by the pulpit
before the beginning of the worship service.
Use those materials that may be the most
comfortable for you.
Be sure your materials will not distract the
After the worship service
Do not leave in a hurry after preaching.
Receive the compliments of the
congregation with gratitude.
Pay attention to those parishioners that
may need to chat with you or to
schedule a pastoral conversation.