Do They Know That You Know?

The preacher must build confidence in the listeners; confidence that the preacher knows the message, knows how it will progress and knows when it will end.

Structure of Message – If the message is deductive, then the main idea is stated early. Confidence can be built by an effective preview of the message. Even something as simple as, “So we will see four things in this text that prove this is true.” If people know there are four “things” to get through, they won’t worry if the first point takes a while and covers only the first verse of a fifteen verse text. The more you preview, the harder you have to work to create tension and desire to listen, but don’t think you’re adding great tension by omitting a preview. You’re only undermining confidence in you. With an inductive message you also need to preview, only you cannot give away as much. But no preview will feel like a wander in the woods blindfolded, and most people don’t prefer that experience. Make sure they know that you know where you are going!

Transitions in the Message – It is hard to put too much work into the transitions. These key moments in the message allow opportunity for reorientation to the main idea or the subject of the message, review of terrain already traveled and a reminder of how far there is left to go. Well worked transitions do wonders for attentiveness, understanding and listener confidence.

Style of Delivery – Confidence is somewhat intangible. I’m not saying you should come across as arrogant or over-confident. However, there is a lot to be said for quiet confidence, for a calm assurance that you know what you are doing. Seek to overcome nervous habits, twitches, mannerisms, and so on. Avoid apologizing, even in jest, during the introduction. Make and maintain meangingful eye contact. If you have to use notes, use them well, but also consider not using them at all.

The preacher must build confidence in the listeners; confidence that the preacher knows the message, knows how it will progress and knows when it will end.

2 thoughts on “Do They Know That You Know?

  1. I agree with these points in general, and I do believe that thorough preparation of ones sermon is very important; however, I think something more important than confidence would be genuineness. A good balance of the two would be great, but if I had to choose, I would be more receptive to someone who is genuine than confident.

    In my time, I have listened to preachers who were very confident, and very eloquent, but borderline arrogant. But the preachers that, to me, have been most helpful in sharing the truths of the Bible are the ones who may not be the most confident in their delivery of the sermon, but are genuine in their desire to preach the gospel.

    Sorry if my comment is presuming too much. You may have covered this characteristic in another post, and I have not read it.

    Good thoughts! May we all take the act of preaching the Gospel with sincere forethought.

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