As pastors, we’re always trying to improve our speaking skills so that we can effectively and impactfully communicate to our congregation each Sunday. That being said, here are five ways you can be more confident as a speaker and a preacher.
Have an outline that works for you. Much has been written on this blog about how to write sermons, how to format your outline, and how to sermon prep in effective ways. (I would encourage you to look through our archives if you’re looking for more information on those topics.) The most important thing to remember is regardless of how you prep and plan for your sermon, your final outline should cater to your preaching style and your preferences. Just because a certain pastor structures his outlines one way doesn’t mean you have to adopt his style. Create an outlining style that works for you and allows you to be confident in the pulpit.
Stop trying to be like someone else. Piggy-backing off the first point, it is important as a speaker to stay true to who you are instead of trying to be like someone else. If you’re funny, then be funny. If humor isn’t your gift, don’t try to force it. If you like using a lot of analogies and personal stories, go that route. If you prefer to share anecdotes from other people, then do that. What matters is that you are true to yourself as you speak.
Practice…a lot. If you’re going to give a sermon on Sunday, it is not a good idea to start practicing on Saturday night. The more you practice what you’re going to say, the more prepared you will feel and the more confident you will be on Sunday morning. That being said, give yourself enough time with the finalized version of your message so you can practice your sermon several times before you have to actually deliver it to your congregation.
Don’t seek out approval. Remember, as a pastor, you’re not speaking each week to get affirmation and praise from your congregation and online audience. You are preaching each week to point people to Jesus and help them either discover Him for the first time or grow in their relationship with Him. Yes, you should always be working to improve your speaking skills so that you can communicate your messages effectively, but you shouldn’t be improving for the sake of gaining approval from people. It’s just like Scripture reminds us: we are working for the Lord, and not for man.
Record yourself speaking. If you’re a sports fan, then you know how common it is for sports teams and coaches to go back and watch film after a game. The benefit of doing this is that as they watch themselves, they can see what they did wrong and learn what they can do better next time. You can implement the same strategy if you record yourself speaking and preaching. Maybe you don’t realize how much you use the word “um.” Or, maybe you don’t realize how you fidget with your hands while you speak, but if you take the time to watch yourself back as you preach, you can pick up on these things and make adjustments as you move forward.
Thank you for reading this blog today. Please know I am praying for you as you develop your sermons and lead your church. May the Lord bless you and your ministry!