There are many things that can distract you while you preach.
Distractions can easily interrupt your flow, make you lose your train of thought and potentially derail your message. It’s important to prepare for potential distractions ahead of time so that you're ready when they come.
All preaching distractions fall into one of two categories: internal or external.
Internal distractions exist inside your head. Your mind goes a million miles an hour while you preach. You think about a lot of things in the moment:
-you can’t decide what your next word is going to be
-you wonder how your message is coming across
-you’re not sure if you’ve adequately made your point
-you realized you’ve talked yourself into a corner
-and on and on
All of this goes on in your head while words are coming out of your mouth. It makes it difficult to stay focused on your message. These internal distractions come at you from your own thoughts. No one knows they’re happening...
Pauses are great. They can add emphasis and give more weight to your point. A well-placed pause is a powerful public speaking tool that you should know how to use.
But the wonderful effect of a pause is destroyed by a terrible public speaking mistake preachers make: the audible pause. What’s an audible pause?
Well, um, it’s uh, um, I think it’s uh… (Sorry, just had to do that).
An audible pause is when you fill in the gaps of your speech with throw away words like “um” “uh” “you know” “like” and others.
These throw away words are a huge distraction, and every public speaker must deal with them if they are going to stand out.
Rooting out these words is way easier said than done, but in this episode we'll discuss what you can do to reduce and eventually eliminate these words from your sermons and speech in general.
There’s nothing like a good snoozer of a sermon. We’ve all sat through them. We’ve all given them at one point or another (myself included).
But what does it take to preach a sermon that makes your listeners fall sound asleep?
What does it take to defy everyone’s ability to pay attention?
If you aspire to give boring sermons that help your people catch up on rest while you preach, there are five easy steps which I'm sharing in this episode!
How you begin your sermon is vital. It can mean the difference between your listeners checking out or deciding to pay close attention. The things you say at the beginning of a sermon are what your listeners subconsciously use to build a framework for your whole message. If your thoughts are murky and unclear, you’re laying an unstable foundation.
But the way you end a sermon is just as important. If the closing of your message is disorganized and unclear, then your listeners will walk away feeling the same way about your message – that it was disorganized and unclear.
When I first began preaching I would prepare relentlessly for the first five minutes of my sermon. I wanted my opening thoughts to be perfect. I would prepare the opening remarks and the body of the sermon with careful detail. But when it came to the end of my message I would just let the sermon kind of close itself. I didn’t have a plan for ending my sermons most of the time.
The result was a lot of...
When it comes to sermon length, how long is too long? How short is too short? Do people care how long the sermon is? Someone should look into this! Well, they did. By "they" I'm talking about a recent survey conducted by Grey Matter.
They discovered what congregants think about a variety of factors affecting preachers from the length of sermons, to asking for tithes and offerings, to dealing with social issues.
There is much in this study for us to discover as preachers. We dive into all of it in this episode of the podcast!
When we preach we make points.
Sometimes we make one point, other times we make multiple points.
But the point is, we make points.
A point is like any other part of our sermon... if structured and delivered well, a point can synthesize and drive home a powerful truth.
But often the power of a point is missed because of two simple mistakes preachers make when giving points in a message.
In this episode of the Preaching Donkey Podcast we are going to discuss what these mistakes are and how to deliver powerful points every time you preach.
Last week I made a video showing an illustration that Michael Todd recently did at Transformation Church. The video was met with feedback from some who loved it and others who didn't like it at all. In this video, I want to examine the question of what makes a sermon illustration effective and engaging and what makes it merely a distraction.
Should a sermon be long or short? Of course the answer to that question is a whopping, "It depends." But the better question to ask is, "What is the best way to use the time in a sermon?" No matter what, every preacher has a limited amount of time and attention from their listeners. In this video we explore how to make the most of the time you have and not waste any of it.
I get a lot of questions from the Preaching Donkey community about how to preach without notes or at least break away from notes more often. In this video, I'll show you three ways to reduce your dependency on notes so you can free yourself up to break away and better engage with your audience when you preach.