I’ve recently been given many opportunities recently by my senior pastor to speak in main services. From my first message I gave, until now, I have learned a lot about what goes into delivering a great message. It’s not always easy and I am still learning so much. I have provided the steps and tips I take to speaking well in the main service when given the opportunity to do so.
Pray for clarity.
This seems cliche, but I promise you, this is the most important thing you can do. You cannot write a good talk unless you know what God wants you to talk about. Pray for clarity. Trust me, this helps so much. You should pray each time you begin researching and reading and structuring your talk. You should pray each time you feel you won’t do well. You should pray when you are going on stage to speak the message you worked hard on all week to write. You need to pray until you feel prayed out, then pray ten more times. Seriously, it works and helps so much to ultimately give the Word that God wants you to give.
Study your stuff.
You can’t give a message well without studying. That’s with any speaking engagement in anything. Comedians study for their jokes, business leaders study management trends and Pastors study the Bible. We need to know what we are going to say and know the background information so that we can be confident in what we say is true instead of stating facts that we hope might be in the Bible. There are so many great resources to help you study. You can use the Bible of course, but also commentaries, books on certain subjects, and the many free tools on the internet. Like to do well on a test, we need to study well for speaking well.
Know what you are going to say.
After you study, I highly suggest looking over all the highlights and key things you plan to say. Pray over it. Write out a good outline of what you feel the outline should look like of all your biblical materials that you plan to use. See if there is anything you need to add. The main thing here is that to really speak well in anything, you need to know what you are going to say.
By being yourself, you need to find your voice in speaking. When you think of how your conversations go, how do you speak to your friends? Do you use a lot of stories? Do you like to talk about current events? Do you like sports? Do you like talking about movies? Whatever you like to talk about, use that to your advantage. I love telling stories. When I speak, I use stories from my life that will help others to be able to relate. I tell stories of different famous people as it relates to the message. I sometimes will add movie quotes from my favorite, but also popular movies that relate to what I’m talking about. When your yourself on stage, it shows your authenticity on and off stage. It is also easy to speak when you get to speak about something you’re passionate about.
Leave room for ad-libbing
By this, in your outline, or manuscript, leave room for speaking reactionary. I try to not know about ten percent of what I am going to say, because that ten percent ends up usually being the best part of my sermons. You may have a manuscript or highly bulleted outline, but I encourage you to leave room for just letting the Spirit truly speak through you. It takes a lot of trust in God, but it is also the part you’ll be excited about once your done. The stuff people remember the most tends to come from the parts of my sermon I did not plan for and just trusted Jesus to inspire my words.
You need to trust that you have sufficiently studied, worked hard at your sermon, and ultimately God’s power. You have all that, so you should be confident. Public speaking is scary and I’m always nervous something bad is going to happen when I’m speaking, but I am still confident in my words. I know that God has been within preparing my message. I know I have worked really hard to give people a message that will ultimately show them Jesus and provide life change. I know I am going to do my best to speak well with the opportunity that Christ has given me. I am confident because of all these things. Confidence is a huge thing to have when delivering a message in the main service.
Speak your message.
This is where you are finally on the stage, looking out at all the people, wondering if your message will stick to others. “Just speak the message you have prepared. Trust that Jesus is going to speak through you. You can do it.” These are many of the words I tell myself right before I speak. I don’t try to do anything other than speak the message that I feel that Jesus has laid on my heart. It is amazing and I love it when I get to do so. Getting to spread the love of Jesus through speaking is an incredible opportunity and all we have to do is just speak our message that we have worked hard for.
Listen to constructive criticism
The last part of your message is actually after your message. Give it a few days, then ask others what they thought of your message. Ask them what they thought needed to be clarified further. Ask people how you can grow as a speaker. We all have room to grow in our speaking skills and without asking it is hard to do so. Also, listen or watch your message and give yourself constructive criticism. To learn to speak better, it takes learning. We may not like to hear the negatives, but we have to look at how we are going to improve for the people that Christ has entrusted us with. We may hear positive things from others which is great! Take that to heart and be encouraged by it. But, to continue to speak well, we have to learn to keep growing and learn to continue to speak the messages that Christ has given us.
I love speaking. Each time I get to, I grow in my skills and also grow closer to Christ through that opportunity. These are just steps and guides I take in delivering a message well and I hope that they help you too!
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