Being a vicar, priest or pastor means that one of your regular activities is delivering the sermon or the talk. On a Sunday morning, you may well want to stay in bed, but your flock await with open ears to take in your words of wisdom.
All week long you have prayed, studied and cogitated. Now it is time to deliver the message. Of course, you are not the Archangel Gabriel, so here are six steps to make sure the sermon is remembered for all the right reasons and that your sanity remains at least reasonably intact.
Read the sermon notes you have printed out… in order to make sure you haven’t printed out or picked up, the shopping list. Although if you were intending to buy several baguettes and a couple of sprats you might be able to make something of it.
Are you wearing the right clothes? It all depends on how formal your service is. However, even if you are the local Chapter Chaplain at the Biker event, a Motorhead T-Shirt with a ketchup stain down the front isn’t great. If applicable remember the dog collar, the correct colour robes and shoes that don’t squeak every time you move.
Look in the mirror before you leave the house. Errant shaving foam, toothpaste, hair gel or worse, can lurk. If you have a partner ask them to give you a quick check, even allowing them to tuck in that label that always sticks out.
Check the news, you never know what might be happening in the wider world. Events may require a little tweaking to your content and tone depending on their nature.
5 Double check
Yes, you’ve already looked in the mirror, but before you speak, check again. Your zip(s), bra strap, make-up, may need attention. And if you are a hipster vicar any wildlife that might have nested in your beard needs to be removed. Note to self – safety pins could be a sermon saver.
6 A moment of calm
Either just before the sermon, service or before you leave home, take a moment. From a few short breaths to time in deeper prayer, it all helps to set us for the task ahead.
This post is a light-hearted, yet practical look at preaching preparation.
If you are involved in ministry you can join The Hub, it is free and is a safe environment to share your own sermon tips, fears and horror stories. As a Hub member (log in before you click link), you'll find an extended preaching preparation article, which is part of our Ministry of the Word topic. Preaching is just one of the ministry issues being discussed in The Hub forums.
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