No, I’m not talking here about your content – this is not about whether you are topical or verse-by-verse expositional. This is much more simple. What is going on around you when you stand in the pulpit on Sunday morning (and night, for us old-schoolers)?
- Do you have a manuscript? Crib notes? An outline?
- Do you have a monitor? An iPad? Printed notes?
- Do you project your notes onto a screen with Powerpoint or Proclaim or some other presentation software?
- Does your church project its notes by WiFi so the congregation can follow along on tablets and smartphones?
- Do you include prepackaged videos, etc, in your sermon presentations?
- Do you stand behind a pulpit? Sit on a stool? Roam the stage?
- Are you in a tie and coat? Jeans and a t-shirt? Something in-between?
- Do you have something to hand out so people can take notes?
- How long do you preach? (Be honest here)
- How do you end your services? (Let’s not get in a food-fight about invitations, but you can tell us how you do it).
And, of course, the most important point – why do you do what you do?
Here is my answer:
I preach with a full manuscript pretty often, though not always. I also put my sermons into Powerpoint, though we are in the process of shifting to Proclaim, so people can follow along on their electronic devices. I carry paper into the pulpit, but project my sermon notes onto the screens in our sanctuary. I will pull some illustrative pictures off the interwebs but I have not ever used video clips in my messages (though we do use the excellent IMB and NAMB videos during the Lottie and Annie seasons).
I wear a suit on Sunday morning, and there are a couple of reasons for that. First of all, a lot of my folks would get really upset if I didn’t, and its just not worth it. Second, I’m not a small man (as you guys know) and like most of us fatties, I sweat when I preach. So, my kids complain about me “pitting out” when I don’t wear a coat. The coat and tie serve a purpose other than to make me more handsome than I naturally am.
Was that TMI?
Who cares? If I get enough of those Dri-Fit golf shirts that wick moisture better, I might go to golf shirts, etc for our contemporary serve.
I preach for anywhere from 35 to 45 minutes. Mostly I stand behind the pulpit, though I do roam a little. We close our services with an invitation in which I invite people to repent and believe, but they are very low key and I don’t use pressure.
Some of what I do is by design, some by accident and habit. I have a tendency to stammer (uh, um, uh), so if I have a manuscript, I do a little better with that. I don’t stick by it exactly or read from it, but I use it as a guide. I try to put the key points and scriptures on the screen so people can see them, to reinforce the main points. I also find that creating the PPT helps me to better organize my thoughts and presentation. So, both a manuscript and a powerpoint works best for me (though I don’t always get the whole manuscript done).
A Suggestion and a Question:
Suggestion: Video and audio record your messages and watch/listen. It’s hard, but helpful. You will see and hear things that will help you. I didn’t realize how often I said “uh” until I listened to my messages. It showed me a problem I needed to work on. Once, I saw that I was doing this same silly-looking hand gesture. I never realized I did it until I watched myself.
Question: I put the scriptures up on the screen so people can see where I am getting my ideas. But I sometimes wonder if putting the verses on the screen is encouraging people NOT to bring their Bibles to church. Few of our folks ever pick up a hymnal, because the works are projected. Am I doing the same with the Bible? Just a concern.