Monological Q and A – part 2

Yesterday I offered three thoughts on how to make a message that engages the listener.  Even though you are doing all the talking, they don’t feel like observers at a presentation, but participants in a half quiet conversation.  They feel like you’re talking to them, like they are involved as the message progresses.  Relevant preaching, rhetorical questions and related to life outlining of the message were yesterday’s points, here are three more (and why not push the alliteration since I tend not to do so when preaching!)

4. Room to breathe It’s so easy to rattle through a message that is clear and defined in our notes, but comes across as an unbroken stream to the listener.  Good use of pauses, and even illustrations, can give room to breathe and re-engage.

5. Really clear structure and transitions – The more people know what’s going on, the more they can engage with it.  If they’re trying to figure out what you’re trying to do, or where you are going, the less they are involved and actually listening.  Good clear structuring and transitions will help the listener to participate in the actual content and journey of the message.

6. Resistance to cruise controlled sermon pace – Pace is so critical.  Again, your notes may be clearly structured, but the listener is at your mercy to get a sense of order and progress.  Many now like to short-circuit this by projecting their outline.  Don’t do that, instead learn to make your message really clear.  Structure and transitions matter.  So too does pace.  No interesting journey progresses at a constant pace – either fast or slow.  Variation of pace will help listeners engage.

Any more that you would add?


One thought on “Monological Q and A – part 2

  1. It’s been a long time since I read the book, but I think Stott (Between Two Worlds) calls this the “dialogical character” of a sermon.

    As the preacher, your job is to know your audience so that you will know the questions they will have about your sermon/topic/Scripture.

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