April 25 2022
What’s in a sermon? Part 8: Delivery A
Delivery. It’s how the sermon goes from your ideas to the congregation. I will mostly address audible delivery, because that is the world I operate in. ASL and other forms of communication like it are not my language group and just as I would be hesitant to tell you how to preach in Chinese, since I don’t speak the language, I will be hesitant to tell you how to preach in ASL since I don’t speak the language.
That being said, there are commonalities across language groups but you’ll want to translate concepts and terms.
The first thing about Delivery of a sermon is this: you need to be fully present in the moment. There are plenty of things that need doing during a church service where a sermon is being delivered, but you need to be doing as few of them as possible. That may mean that you need to train some more sound people or figure out how to “set it and forget!” with your sound board.
That also means that you need to solve your technical issues before the sermon and be ready to abandon the tech stuff if you it does not work at point of need. If you are constantly fretting over the technology or are also having to make any sound adjustments, lighting changes, you will split your attention and your message will suffer. Get other people involved. If there are not enough other people to do those items, you might consider that your congregation is small enough not to need those bells and whistles.
Next, when considering Delivery, is planning ahead for visibility and clarity. This is what the platform at a church is for—it is NOT a stage—so that people can see you better and thus aid in processing the sermon you are presenting. You are not ‘elevated’ for your own sake but for the sake of the congregation. Make those decisions ahead of time: where are you going to preach from? Are you going to use a microphone? What kind? Your traditions may dictate these rather than allow you wide open freedom, but you want to look at them just the same.
Then, as you Deliver the sermon, be ready to minimize distractions. How you dress is only important if you are distracting in your choices; you need to know your folks to get that clear in your context. Every sermon is not the time to defend your tuxedo or your flip-flops. Further, what do you rattle around with? Keys in your pocket? Get a KeySmart so they don’t rattle. If you are using a microphone, have your cell phone…elsewhere. Seriously. It may or may not buzz and cause chaos. And if you keep your Bible and sermon notes on it…get a different device.
Seriously, on that note: if you are note-dependent, have a dead battery plan or a failing device plan for your notes. Your iPad is a piece of technology. It will fail at some point…watch it install an iOS update during Sunday School and lock you out.
Ultimately, the first part of Delivery guidance on a sermon is to minimize any distractions that are within your control. You don’t need to worry about babies—although having childcare for young ages can be a blessing to parents, it’s another matter—but you do need to worry about you.
Next sermon talk will be about actually getting the sermon out of your mouth!