Just to finish off the series of posts looking back at previous posts on this site, let’s consider the issue of delivery. All the best work on preparing a sermon can be undermined completely by ineffective delivery. It’s not that we want to be professional or rely on our own abilities. Quite the opposite. We want to be the best stewards of the opportunity to minister God’s Word. So as part of that stewardship we put effort into improving our delivery skills so that the message is not blocked by our ineptitude in some area.
The goal of working on delivery is not to become something you are not, but to be better at being you. That is, the goal is a natural delivery, rather than a forced, a dramatic or a plagiarized delivery style. Be natural, but also be clear. If natural is monotone, or stilted, or boring, or constantly sniffing, or whatever, then work on it so that your natural style is more effective. In order to improve you will need to get feedback. Ask others for their feedback, and every now and then try to watch a video of yourself – it really does help!
Previously – I’ve called it 8+1 because the 8 stages are for preparation of a message, but really delivery is almost a ninth stage in the process. So the goal is to be yourself. You have your own personal style, but that is not an excuse! Present yourself appropriately, and watch your tone. In your delivery, be sure to give breaks, which will include planned pauses. On a practical note, think carefully before using powerpoint while you preach. And please think through your use of notes (see also part 2 and part 3). It is important to learn how to preach with passion, but try to keep the words short whenever possible. The challenge of being natural does not always feel natural, but somehow we need to make it look easy. Delivery is much more than just what you say (see also part 2). But more than all of this, remember that delivery skill is always ultimately trumped by genuineness.