Here are a few tips for those of us who communicate God's Word regularly. We need to commit ourselves to developing our God-given gifts and continually seek to be more effective in bringing about change in people's lives.
1. Choose one main BIG Idea for your message
It’s better to say one thing well than to present a scattering of many things less effectively. The quantity of information presented does not necessarily equate to the quality of implementation achieved. Sometimes we think that ‘more is better,’ when in actual fact we should ‘teach less for more.’ Have one central topic or idea for your message and deliver it clearly.
No single message needs to cover everything that needs to be said about a biblical text or topic. Have a more open-ended approach that sees your message as part of an ongoing conversation rather than the last word on a matter, with everything tied together. Leave people with some work to do – questions to answer, reflections to make, and discussion to engage in.
2. Craft an experience; don’t prepare a lecture
Take people on a journey; don’t just download information. Map out your message like a ‘story board’ for a movie script. Consider different sermon shapes (deductive vs. inductive) and matters such as structure, mood, tension (suspense and surprise) and resolution. Avoid predictability.
Seek to connect well with the people and built rapport right from the beginning, then move into an introduction to the message that captures people’s attention and generates interest. As you progress, ensure that the transitions and movements within the message are clear and smooth.
3. Understand that our primary authority is in God’s Word
As communicators for Jesus, we are called to speak his Word, reflecting his heart and mind on whatever we are speaking about. We are his mouthpiece and his representative. To speak well, we first need to hear well and know his Word. Build your message on the foundation of the Scriptures, expounded clearly and accurately.
4. Creatively Illustrate the truth you wish to communicate
Jesus never taught without using a parable to illustrate the truth he was teaching. Ensure that your message has ample inclusion of creative elements such as stories, examples, or visuals that generate interest and become ‘hooks’ for people to remember what they have been taught.
5. Live the message
Our message is more than words. It includes who we are and the life we live. Share your life as part of your message. Be willing to share what you are learning and where you are growing, including your problems, struggles, and even failures. Be personal, open and real.
Click here for part 2.