- Education and Science
How to become a better preacher - Practice
How to become a better preacher - Practice
My preaching career started when our local pastor given me 10 minutes to preach/share my faith before his preaching. He wanted to encourage youngsters and train them. Many a time I turned down the opportunity of speaking in the church. My Pastor persuaded me many times and told me the importance of sharing my faith with others. He told me even if it is for a 5 minutes, you should say something with confidence. That was my training period.
I really thank him and many other local church pastors who spared some minutes for encourage and train the youngsters. In the beginning I saw my friends who ventured out to share their faith. Some of them were very eloquent, but few of them did not have words and run out of gas within a few minutes.
When I first agreed to share my faith to my pastor a week ahead of the event, I decided I wanted to preach at least 10 minutes. So during the week I prepared a short message with many points. When I was invited for the first time, I stand there and was frightened. My voice was cracking. Everyone can easily understand that I was nervous. Scared voice, trembling feet and fear. That was I at my first preaching experience. Even after a weeks preparation and gathering courage to stand up and preach, I could not continue after 5 minutes. So I closed the message immediately. When I returned to my seat, I realized that I forgot to many points which I gathered during the week.
After the service my pastor encouraged me by saying that "you have done a great job". and said that you were nervous and told me that by practice only you can overcome this nervousness and fear. Then when I reached home I asked my mom about my preaching. My mother also encouraged me for standing in the midst of people. I noticed one thing which she told me about my message. She said you had valid points in your sermon but it was missing the connection. The Connection with people who listen the message. The lasting impression of the message. She mentioned some of the preachers who used to make lasting impression on the lives of people. Their messages lasts for a long time in the hearts of their listeners. They are connecting preachers. They connect with the hearts of their listeners. They and their messages are remembered for a long time.
I got the point.
My first and subsequent preaching ventures draw my attention to many important aspects of preaching.
- Having deep knowledge about the word of God.
- Good Introduction
- Clear Structure
- Accurate Exegesis.
- Personal Application
- Connecting with people.
- Voice variation
- Body language
- Presentation of the message.
- Appropriate Illustration
- Lasting impression on listeners.
- Purpose of the message.
- Moreover the importance of trusting and relaying God for using me for his work of changing lives.
Preaching will not come in a day or two. It will take many attempts to fine-tune your preaching ability. If you desire quick improvement, you have to practice it on a daily basis. Either you can practice your preaching in a solitary place or you can practice while talking to your friends or family members at home. In one-to-one conversations, you may try consciously varying your voice up and down so that it could become natural. You may try different volumes while speaking to your family. If you tend to talk too fast practice slowing down and pausing in your daily life. If you tend to give same weight to every word, while talking to your friends, give weights to important words. Don't literally preach to your friends and colleagues in normal conversations. That would become too much to bear. In short improve your speaking in every day speaking.
By practicing when you are not preaching, over time, the changes in your voice and action become natural and they become part of normal you.
Practice preaching in a solitary place may offend some of you. They say, "you are not acting in the pulpit". That is true. If your conscious say so, don't do it. If you don't find any wrong in practice preaching, in front of a mirror or in a solitary place, it can improve your preaching a lot. By doing that, you can correct many mis-behaviors yourself. (but many think it's an unholy practice your preaching) Obviously, trusting only on your "wisdom of words" is a sin. You are not pretending to be someone else while you practice a sports. You are training your mind and body to achieve skills. So think of practicing speaking skills as practicing a sport. You are building your memory. You are building your eloquence by practice.
Artists and athletes exercise their skills on a daily basis. And the mastery appears effortlessly to them. Preachers are communicators. Your communication skill must come effortlessly. Practice, practice, practice. That is the only way to achieve mastery in preaching.