Ways to Improve Communication and Delivery
by Paul Powell
(Excerpted from Baptist Press
Preach simply, plainly
and naturally. "Talk where people understand it. We're feeding sheep, not
giraffes, so don't go over their heads. You can be deeply spiritual and
perfectly natural at the same time."
Preach in the present
tense. "People want to know how to live in the freeways and crowded
apartment buildings of life. Eternal truth is not just in the sweet bye
and by, but in the nasty here and now."
Preach with passion.
"Don't be afraid of emotion in your preaching. Any preacher who neglects
emotion may find his congregation dying. People are looking for more
emotion and less intellectualism in church, but do not go into excess."
Preach freely. "Either
don't use notes or use scant notes, so you won't have to rely on them. Use
your whole body in preaching. To be talked to death is a terrible way to
die. Some preachers wear robes and hoods, and that's their prerogative,
but people need to see what we feel."
"Develop an eye and ear for illustrations in magazines, television and
conversations. Carry a pencil and pad around with you constantly, or they
may pass you by. They let light and fresh air into a sermon. There's
enough dullness in the world without you adding to it.
Sermons should be
interesting. If some people go to sleep during your sermon, you're
the one who needs to wake up."
"When you preach, someone has got to get tired--you or your congregation."
Preach with an element
of confession and humanness. "We don't need to pretend we're someone we're
not. We struggle just like they do. The disciples never pretended to be
Preach for a verdict.
"What are you driving at? What do you want the audience to do? If you
don't know what you want them to do, how do you expect them to know? Every
preacher should preach like a lawyer and know what the verdict is going to
Preach with authority.
"You can't wake up a church that's asleep without disturbing it. The
ministry of preaching can be a hot seat sometimes. If you're a wimp, then
go sell shoes. If you preach, speak boldly and with authority and tell the
truth in love. That kind of preaching touches the heart."
Preach with humor.
"Humor breaks down barriers. If you can get a congregation to laugh, you
can come back and say almost anything to them."
Preach with a sense of
hope. "We're to encourage people, not browbeat them. If you have to err,
err on the side of grace. We're in the business of throwing ropes, not
throwing rocks. Never leave the Son on the cross or the prodigal son in
the pig pen. Leave people with a sense of hope that they can find mercy
Preach prayerfully. "Do
not confuse or amuse, but infuse with the gospel. We're not just being
clever speakers and telling sob stories. Rely on prayer, and see what God