I’ll admit it. I don’t like to practice my sermons after I write them.
But I do.
I walk through it. I practice. I time myself. I will actually preach through it (in a whisper to save my voice). I go through the introduction several times. I go through transitions, and as I go through it, I make adjustments to words or phrases that I find are not flowing well. I’ve been preaching now for about 7 years and have probably preached a few hundred sermons in my time. So why would I still go through the trouble of practicing every sermon before I preach?
Because it matters and it makes a difference. If I don’t present things clearly, people will be confused, and the message will be diluted. Preaching, of all messages, really matter.
When people look at famous preachers on tv, they make it look so easy. And we assume that they could just get up there and walk through any message like that without practicing. You’d be wrong. Good communicators practice. And after they go through the message, high caliber communicators will review them see how they could do better.
My brother was recently listening to one of my messages, and he said, did you notice you were saying “um” a lot? I never really noticed. I was doing a first person narrative, and I guess there was something about doing this in character that brought those “ums” out. I don’t usually say words like “um” because I’ve hard to erase them from my speaking vocabulary. But it was a reminder that everyone, no matter how skilled as a speaker you are, need to practice way more than you think you do.
That’s the difference between speakers that do the job, or really get the job done.
And in any field, I think, it’s the deliberate, purposeful practice that ends up making the big difference in the long run.
[image by mtsofan]