If you are preparing to give a sermon in church, it is likely that you are quite nervous. Plunging into the proverbial biblical waters is a huge responsibility and one not to be taken lightly. You will have probably watched ministers give sermons in an Orange County church and thought they made it look really is. But it isn’t a walk in the park, although you can practice to become really good at it. Let’s take a look at three key things to help you prepare.
Position and Preframe
You need to know what your congregation looks for in a sermon. You want to make sure that you are talking about something that they will find interesting and that makes them enthusiastic and ready to hear more. There are always people who are in church because someone else told them to go, which means they won’t be happy about being there, but your role is to make sure that you know how to grip the attention of those who do want to be there and, with a bit of luck, make their enthusiasm contagious to those who would have rather spent their Sunday morning in bed or watching a football match.
They say that proper preparation prevents poor performance, also known as the 5 P’s, and they are very much true. You may be a natural speaker, but you still have to prepare yourself. Some of history’s greatest speakers, like Dr. King, Malcolm X, Barack Obama, and so on, are all excellent speakers. But they are also prepared. They know what they want to talk about, they have written notes, they have thought about the overall message they want to convey. Key is also to keep things as short as possible, which you can’t do if you don’t know where your sermon is going.
Show You Are Confident
Just like dogs can smell fear, and cats instinctively go to the person with the allergies, your congregation will be able to tell if you’re nervous. You may think that you will come across as endearing, which may be true to a degree, but it is not the feeling you want to go for. You don’t want to be a cute, helpless person who they are there to encourage. You are supposed to be a leader and mentor, someone who inspires others to do great things. Even if you don’t feel confident, you have to pretend that you are and make it the acting performance of a lifetime as well.
Really good church sermons always look super easy, yet they are hugely inspirational. However, the only reason why they look so easy is because the person who is delivering the sermon knows their stuff. They know what they are talking about, which verses they want to focus on, what the personality of their congregation is, and more. They make people hang on their every word, because they say things in a way that people want to listen to.
Planning a church event takes a lot of thinking about, and every need must be borne in mind when you’re planning. The demographics of the population are such that you have to make sure everyone is catered to.
Photo from Mount Pleasant
For an event to be successful and inclusive, you have to think first about the kind of event and about how long it will take. Then you have to bear in mind how many people you’re accommodating. You’ll also need to give a lot of thought to how far they may have traveled to get there.
Although people’s minds will likely be on higher matters, it is only right to bear in mind their comfort. At this of all times, you don’t want someone’s mind wandering because they’re not sitting comfortably. If you’re expecting a higher turnout than usual, then some extra church sanctuary chairs may be needed. This may be the case for a wedding or a funeral in particular when more people may have traveled for the special event.
The more people there are at an event, the more body heat you have to account for. That being the case, you have also to consider the time of year. Think of a couple of hundred people crammed into a church together in June. Unless you’ve made allowances for air conditioning, it will get uncomfortable for all concerned. And as many of the attendees might be advanced in years, that’s a health concern.
Connected to the number of people in attendance is the importance of having some space for them to move around. Very few church events are purely sedentary experiences – most will involve some standing at least. The communality of the event may mean that people need to go to greet one another, so you cannot have them crammed in like sardines.
The duration of a church event is largely a simple matter – it takes as long as it takes. Particularly considering that the attendees will range from the young to the elderly, it is important to consider access. You may need to make allowances for wheelchairs and pushchairs. This needs factoring into everything – from seating space to room in the aisles. Of course, no-one wants to think about an emergency, but you need to be prepared.
Photo from Flickr
Again depending on the kind of event, you may be laying on refreshments during the service. This being the case, you have to ensure that you have a clean-up crew planned for the event. Hired hands or willing volunteers, it’s up to you (and them). But anywhere you have a lot of people together is going to leave an imprint. And if that imprint includes crumbs, then you’re liable to have non-human visitors pretty soon.
The most important thing in any church event is that all the attendees can be there together in a spirit of contemplation. Bear this in mind when creating an environment for them and you’ll have a gathering that generates positivity. This will be remembered in the best possible light for years to come.