The One Thing That Has Improved My Sermon Delivery More Than Anything Else

Stephen BedardI believe that good biblical content is the key to any sermon. However, if that content is not delivered effectively, the congregation will struggle to learn from the good teaching.

There has been one thing that has improved my sermon delivery more than anything else. The good news is that it is very simple. The bad news is it is very painful.

The greatest improvement that I experienced was during a time that I recorded my messages and then edited them in order to post them online. Early in the week, I would listen to my message and would edit out all the “umms” and “ahhs.”

The point was not to get a perfect online version but to improve my delivery in general. What I’m talking about will not work by sending your message to an assistant for editing.

It was the process of editing my own sermons that made me aware of how I was speaking and where I needed to improve. It got to the point that when I was preaching, I would become aware that I was going to “umm” or “ahh” and I would stop myself because I didn’t want to have to edit it out.

I don’t do this anymore because after doing that for a couple of years, my delivery has improved remarkably. I’m sure that I still use those fillers from time to time, but it is nothing like it was. I’m much more self-aware when I’m preaching.

If you want to take this to the next level, you could watch yourself on video. I did that early on and realized I needed to stop a few distracting habits.

My recommendation for pastors is to do this for at least six months of preaching. I’m confident that your delivery will improve.

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One thought on “The One Thing That Has Improved My Sermon Delivery More Than Anything Else”

  1. “…editing my own sermons that made me aware of how I was speaking and where I needed to improve.”

    It’s hard, if not impossible, for anyone to edit themselves. Better options:

    1. Get a critique from an experienced actor. Not that the preacher should become an actor, but most actors know how to connect with a group of people and most pastors don’t.

    2. Get input from someone who teaches public speaking. A college instructor or someone from a group like Toastmasters.

    3. Ask 2 or 3 12-year old children what could be better. They always know.

    4. Learn to say more in less time without talking faster. If a preacher isn’t able to say it in 30 minutes, 45 minutes won’t help.

    5. Learn to put theological ideas into story form. It takes creativity, but stories are an attractive way to communicate. It worked for Jesus.

    Most often preachers like to convey biblical knowledge without but fail to connect with the needs of their people. That’s why I advocate that all preachers spend at least half of their sermon prep time in homes, hospitals, offices or on job sites or the street.

    Preachers need a tune-up every couple years even though preaching is a spiritual activity.

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