How to Get Better at Preaching!
“Pastor, I just love your passion and energy!” “I love how excited you get when preaching!” These were typical comments I would receive after worship services a few years ago. It seemed every Sunday I would receive several compliments about my passion, energy, and apparent level of excitement.” Initially it felt great. Ok, honestly, it always feels great. But then some troubling questions began to creep into my mind, “But did you get the content?” “Are you living and believing differently because you heard this message?” I began to wonder if my preaching had become more show than substance. I began to wonder if it was making any difference. Then I wondered If I could get better at preaching in this stage of my life and ministry.
I’ve known some preachers, who when confronted with the reality that they were not nearly as good at the preaching task as they thought they were, simply left the ministry. I resolved not to do that. I resolved to find a way to get better and more effective at preaching while not losing my passion, energy, or excitement. In order to make the shift I first had to embrace a simple but profound truth, “It is possible to get better at preaching in any stage of life and ministry, but it’s my choice to get better or not.” I made the decision to get better at preaching.
If you are in that place of decision, then here are a few recommendations for getting better. Please keep in mind that I’m assuming we know how to do the good exegetical work with the text and how to listen well to the Holy Spirit in the preparation of the content. The following are suggestions for getting better at communicating and connecting with the congregation in a way that allows that message to get through:
- Subscribe to The Podcast of Preachers You Admire. Search iTunes or do a Google search and you will find a ton of podcasts out there. Listen to them often, making note of what you like about their messages, their approaches, and what you might do differently.
- Watch Ted Talks. Ted Talks are a secular, business, leadership, phenomenon, where experts from many different disciplines give an 18 minute talk. They are incredible and being watch by millions of people. You might even read “Talk Like Ted” (I reviewed it HERE) for the technical info.
- Start a Preaching Mastermind Group. Get together with 6 to 10 other preachers to learn, practice, and evaluate one another in a safe environment.
- Take a Class or Webinar. Whether it’s something like Preaching Rocket, a continuing ed class at a seminary, or a public speaking course at the local community college, there are people out there ready to help you get better. Find the one that works for you and sign up!
As I’ve spent the last few years focusing on getting better at preaching, I’ve found that I’m getting more and more comments about the content, I’ve had more emails and comments from people trying to implement the message into their lives. And I’ve discovered that it is indeed possible to get better at preaching at any stage of life and ministry. But I had to make the decision to do it! Will you?
Grace and Peace, Rich