Sermon Delivery

3 Reminders About Sermon Delivery

We’ve been talking about the 3 legged table — maintaining the balance between content, structure, and delivery.

Today let’s talk about delivery. Here are three rules to remember.

1. Effective delivery is not an accident.

There are some who are so naturally gifted at public speaking that words effortlessly flow and charm fills the room whenever they stand in front of a group.

As it turns out, they have as many delivery-related challenges as the rest of the us — but they’re most likely to overlook them, because they think they’ve got the delivery aspect down.

It doesn’t matter how naturally gifted one may or may not be, good delivery takes practice. Talent bestowed at birth may give you a slight head start, but it doesn’t give you a free pass. To be effective in pulpit ministry, you have to develop your public speaking skills.

This involves more than just a pre-Sunday run through. Rehearsing your message is essential, but effective delivery requires more. It requires that speakers strive consistently to sharpen their skills — to rid themselves of the ummm habit, to learn to plant their feet, to develop a more pleasant voice, to gesture naturally, and so on.

It doesn’t happen by accident; it takes intentional effort.

2. Effective delivery is dynamic.

Dynamic doesn’t mean loud. In this context, it means varied — changing volume and tempo from time-to-time, as well as including plenty of white space.

For example, sometimes speakers forget they have a microphone. They forget that it’s not necessary to bellow the entire message. We need to remember to use our inside voice. Even dare to whisper at times.

And don’t be afraid to pause.

When you say something powerful and/or profound, it’s tempting to follow up with, “Did you get that? Let me repeat it. I’ll say it again…”

This isn’t necessary.

Give your listeners a powerful statement. And then give them some white space. Pause. Let the words sink in. And then move ahead with your message. They’ll remember what you said.

Speak softly sometimes. Speak with a little heat at other times. Speed up. Slow down. And make use of white space. Effective delivery is dynamic in its presentation.

3. Effective delivery is inconspicuous.

G.K. Chesterton said, “The aim of the sculptor is to convince us that he is a sculptor; the aim of the orator is to convince us that he is not an orator.”

The people in the pew don’t really want to watch a performance. They don’t want to be preached at. Nor do they want to hear schtick. Or stand-up material. Or a sales pitch, either.

Neither do they want to hear you stumble your way through your presentation like an actor who has forgotten his lines.

Your listeners want to hear — they need to hear — a sincere presentation of God’s Word, the result of prayer, study, and preparation. A message that reflects your research as well as it also reveals the depths of your heart.

While the sermon may resemble a performance in that it involves meticulous preparation, ultimately it must be more than a performance. It must be authentic.

This involves more effort on your part, not less.

The most effective preachers and public speakers don’t allow themselves to become a distraction — either by being unrehearsed, or by being a little too over-the-top.

You don’t want your delivery to get in the way of your message. Strive to make it as inconspicuous as possible.

Don’t underestimate the importance of effective delivery.