I’m new to this preaching thing. Although I’m used to being in front of people prophesying the word, I am new to expository preaching or any kind of prepared teaching of the Bible. From experience, let me tell you, they are two different animals. When you prophesy, it is usually spontaneous, full of emotion, full of symbolism and prophetic language such at “soon, now, times and seasons”. It’s fun! You should ask the Lord to give you a word for someone sometime. However, preaching is still spirit-led, but prepared and somewhat structured. Something that someone might take some time to get used to for those of us who might feel more comfortable sharing our hearts. But here are a few tips for those of you reading who are new to preaching or might be preaching your first sermon in the near future:
-Prepare your outline, then cut 3/4ths of it out. I found my first sermon to be way too much content. I kinda over prepared what I was going to say. In your preparation you will find tons of new information, interesting insights and theological depths that you might be excited about, but your listener may not. Shrink it down….
-Whats the bottom line? Most people are not focused enough to handle a monologue sermon, especially if you’re not the most animated person. Get to the point. What is the practical take away you want people to leave with. Don’t dumb it down, just keep it simple.
-Relax. Breathe and speak to your brothers and sisters in Christ heart to heart as family. The more relaxed you’ll be, the better you’ll be able to communicate best what it is you feel is on God’s heart to share.
-Please, please, please do your research on the text. You might not have to share all the info you found, but be prepare to fill your knowledge base. A well spoken person is a well read person. You will both grow and your people will grow the more understanding and insight you have into the text you will preach from.
-Preach the gospel somewhere in your message. Always point to Christ. You never know who might be listening that is open to receiving an invitation to surrender their life to Jesus. Just because someone is coming to church, doesn’t make them born again.
-People love stories.
-Loose the theological terms and Christianese. If you do use them, do justice to explain what they mean. Not everyone went to seminary or Bible school.
-Use a watch. Honor people’s time.
-Really love the people you’re preaching to. Look into their eyes. Don’t be afraid to show emotion.