Elements of Effective Sermon Delivery

Yes, it’s been forever since I’ve posted. Moving and school have kept me occupied. I desire to pick it up again, with some new features. Soon.

I developed this quick guide to elements of effective sermon delivery for my Homiletics class at Faith Baptist Bible College. In first semester Homiletics we’re focusing on what to preach – learning to develop an expository sermon from a passage of Scripture. Second semester we’ll focus on how to preach – effectively communicating the sermon. But the guys will be preaching the sermons they’ve been working on this semester, and I wanted to give them a quick, helpful guide to some of the practical aspects of effective sermon delivery. I thought some of  you might benefit from it as well. Here you go. (I don’t usually try to alliterate, it just sort of happened.)

Your Heart

  • Prayerful – Invest time in prayer throughout the preparation process and before the preaching event.
  • Personal – Develop genuine concern, love, and compassion for the people you are speaking to.
  • Passionate – Believe what you are preaching and feel a compelling burden to communicate it.

Your Head

  • Finished – Prepare thoroughly and completely so that you know what the text means and what you will say about it.
  • Familiar – Go over your message repeatedly so that you can communicate freely.
  • Fresh – Review your message close to the time you will preach. Avoid distractions as much as possible without being uncaring or rude to people.

Your Mouth

  • Awake – Do mouth calisthenics to warm up your vocalization muscles.
  • Articulate – Pronounce your words clearly and correctly. Don’t mumble. Read your Scripture text clearly, reverently, and expressively.

Your Face

  • Eye contact – Look everyone you can in the eye at least once.
  • Expressive – Smile. Don’t look mad. Show compassion.
  • Enjoy – You’re preaching the Word of God. What a privilege and joy! Show it.

Your Voice

  • Clear – Lift your voice and enunciate your words. Hydrate before preaching, and while preaching if necessary. Use a small cough drop if needed.
  • Confident – Declare your message without mumbling or stumbling around. Avoid “uh.” Just wait until the thought comes. Speak as the oracles of God (1 Peter 4:11).
  • Controlled – Purposefully vary your pitch, projection/punch, pace, and pause for emphasis and interest.

Your Hands

  • At ease – Keep them in a natural position.
  • Accentuate – Reinforce what you are saying with appropriate gestures.

Your Body

  • Starting point – The centered pulpit is the most powerful position on the platform. It should be your base of operation. Start from it and, if you move away, return to it.
  • Stability – Maintain a poised yet energetic stance. Avoid nervous or distracting movement.
  • Steps – Move in ways that emphasize the message, keep people’s attention, and connect with the audience.

Your Audience

  • Focus – Concentrate on connecting with them, not on yourself or your notes.
  • Not Fans – Do not seek their approval or affirmation. Speak to please God, not man.
  • Friends – Help them along the journey that you and they are on.

The “T” Word

This is a quick update for anyone who follows Speaking of God.

Who knows how many times I’ve used the word “transition” in the past two months? Much about my life and ministry is changing. We’ll move to our new home in Ankeny, Iowa, at the end of this month. I start as Professor of Pastoral Training at Faith Baptist Bible College & Theological Seminary on August 1. God has been very good to me. He has led, provided, and encouraged in numerous ways during the past few months. I am excited for what is ahead!

This blog will transition as well. I plan to keep it up, but it will no longer be connected to Calvary Baptist Church in Simpsonville, where I have been pastoring. There will be no post notifications through the Calvary Internet sites. I will continue notifications through my personal Facebook page. My posts will be on similar themes related to Bible study, preaching, and pastoral ministry. But I will be more focused on content that will supplement my new role of equipping and encouraging people for vocational ministry.

Thanks for reading and following. I appreciate your prayer during this time of transition, and I look forward to sharing more on Speaking of God in the days ahead.

What’s Next For Us

I read these words over and over: “We exist to prepare vocational Christian workers and ministry leaders for local churches throughout the world.” My heart resonated with the statement, and I wanted to be involved in this cause. Today, I am excited and thankful to share that the next season of my life and ministry will be devoted to this very thing!

40 days ago I announced to my church family that God was leading me to another place of ministry. The night before my announcement, I told my wife, “I feel like I’m about to step off a cliff.” I had reached a decision that God had another assignment for me, but I did not know where. I shared my decision with our church and said, “God has something else for me to do. I do not yet know what that will be. Faith (my wife) and I are seeking the Lord’s direction and will wait on Him to lead us. It will probably involve pastoring, teaching, or some combination of both. When God is leading, we must obey. I’ve walked with God long enough to know when He is moving me in a direction, and that is what is happening now. I know you will understand that I must follow His will for my life.”

My wife and I were prepared to wait months for God to direct us to a new place of ministry. It seems that sometimes we wait on God, and other times we are almost running to keep up with Him. The past three weeks have been the latter of those two.

Three weeks ago, Jim Tillotson, President of Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary, called me. We met the following week, and he invited me to the campus in Ankeny, Iowa, just outside of Des Moines. My wife and I traveled there last week. President Tillotson and several members of the college and seminary faculty interviewed me, and I was offered a position, which I enthusiastically accepted.

My role at Faith will be Professor of Pastoral Training. Responsibilities will include teaching Homiletics, Pastoral Theology, and other related classes, as well as overseeing the Ministry Training program. I could not be more thrilled at this opportunity.

The statement at the beginning of this article is from the school’s official documents. Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary exists to prepare vocational Christian workers and ministry leaders for local churches throughout the world. During its 95-year existence, the school has established a reputation for maintaining solid, conservative theology; cultivating warm-hearted devotion to Christ; and graduating Christian servants who are in positions of ministry all over the world. There are approximately 6000 alumni of Faith living in all 50 United States and in 35 countries. It is one of the few Bible colleges to achieve both regional and national accreditation.

President Jim Tillotson is completing his first year of leadership there. He has brought fresh vision and energy, and I am excited to be part of his team. I look forward to serving along with the many godly men and women already there equipping a new generation of Christian workers and ministry leaders. To FBBC&TS students who are reading this, I look forward to meeting you in the Fall!

God is good. He has always provided me with a place of ministry that is way beyond my hopes and expectations. I will have much to learn in making the transition from pastoring to teaching, but I am glad for the new challenge and for the opportunity to equip and encourage pastors. Please pray for us as we move, settle, and begin!