No, this one isn’t about topical sermons vs expositional or that sort of thing. They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but during the shutdown, I’ve fallen into a new pattern for preaching that I hope to continue now that the slow march toward normalcy has begun.
I used to preach from handwritten notes. If you saw my handwriting, you’d know why that can be a total disaster. I’ve been using my computer to study and prepare notes for a long time. Since I moved here to Sioux City, I have been relying more and more on presentation software (still using old faithful – Powerpoint) for sermon notes – trying to help visual learners follow along.
One of the things I found, as I edited my sermons for the website, was that I was tending to run longer and longer. Of course, with my dashing good looks, that seems to be okay. Guys like Bart Barber, Matt Henslee, and of course, the rest of the Voices team, couldn’t get away with preaching sermons of 45 minutes or more. During the shutdown, while we were recording sermons, I wanted to control my time better, so I took to manuscripting my sermons.
Now, I tend to preach from the manuscript. For me, a 6 to 7 page manuscript, double spaced (12-point, Times New Roman) would give me about 27 to 30 minutes of a recorded message. In the last couple of weeks, I’ve both recorded and preached live. Sermons seem to run about 5 minutes longer (or more) in a live situation than when I’m recording.
So, what I’m doing now is manuscripting, putting up more general, less detailed notes on the screen, and trying to keep my message in the 35-minute range (and failing at times, but going toward 40 minutes, not 50!).
I’m not really asking you to judge my process, though go ahead. I’m just wondering what others do.
- Do you use presentation software?
- Do you manuscript?
- Any masochists out there who go into the pulpit with NO notes?