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Sermon Delivery, by Pablo A. Jiménez

An electronic presentation about sermon delivery.

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Sermon Delivery, by Pablo A. Jiménez

  1. 1. Sermon Delivery Pablo A. Jiménez
  2. 2. General guidelines  Believe that your sermon will make a difference in the life of the listeners.  Maintain a positive attitude and a fraternal tone.  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.
  3. 3. Before the worship service  Research your sermon thoroughly.  Have adequate physical, mental, and spiritual preparation.  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.
  4. 4. If you are a guest preacher…  Please be early.  Get to know the church building and the pulpit before the service begins.  Greet people warmly.  Dress appropriately.
  5. 5. During the worship service  Worship! Participate actively in the worship service.  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, though.
  6. 6. 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 stress.  Breathe! Deep rhythmic breathing will relax you, regulating your blood flow.
  7. 7. 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.
  8. 8. 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 preaching!)
  9. 9. 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 appreciation.  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.
  10. 10. 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 manuscript.  Never play with your notes. That is a sign of boredom or nervousness.
  11. 11. Voice I  Use your natural voice. Avoid the “preachers voice” syndrome.  Maintain an adequate volume during the whole sermon.  Do not allow your voice to fade at the end of phrases or sentences.  Do not shout. Use pauses and silences for emphasis.
  12. 12. Voice II  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.
  13. 13. Voice: Exercises  Some problems, such as a very high pitch, may be the result of anxiety and stress. Relaxation exercises would help correct such problems.  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.
  14. 14. Microphones  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 voice.
  15. 15. Body language I Different postures would transmit different attitudes:  Centered body: Implies internalization and evaluation. Should be using during pauses and silences.  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 closeness.
  16. 16. Body language II  Moving from side to side: Hints indecision or boredom.  Open arms: Transmits the idea that the preacher is open to receive new ideas.  Closed arms: Implies anger, rejection and closed-mindedness.
  17. 17. Involuntary movements  Should be avoided, if possible.  To control your body movements, stand up with a foot slightly in front of the other.  The “center” of your body must face the audience. Never turn your back to the audience during the sermon.
  18. 18. Gestures I  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.  Gestures must slightly precede the words.
  19. 19. Gestures II  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 Latin America.  Do not run your fingers through your hair. Some gestures related to hair have sexual overtones.
  20. 20. Gestures III  Be natural. Congregations reject preachers that “overact.”  Limit involuntary or nervous movements.  If your body language does not agree with your verbal language, there will be added “noise” in the communication process.
  21. 21. Gestures: Summary 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
  22. 22. Visual contact  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.
  23. 23. Materials  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 congregation.
  24. 24. 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.