This is a guest post by fellow Tribe Writer, Rachel Larkin. Rachel lives in New Zealand with her husband and their three young adult sons. She is the author of Simple Prayer: The Guide for Ordinary People Seeking the Extraordinary. She writes about growing in faith and developing your potential on her website rachellarkin.com. She is also a practicing Chartered Accountant, a homeschooler for 14 years, and craves chocolate constantly.
To find out more on seeing God turn up in your daily life, Rachel has a free eBook available for download – The Untold Story: 7 Steps to Seeing God in the Midst of your Real Messy Life. Make sure to check it out!
All preachers, teachers, and speakers want an audience that is interested in what they have to say. We desire to engage the listeners with our message. After listening to decades of sermons in my life and preaching for the past couple of years I have discovered 6 simple keys to presenting powerful sermons, messages that will resonate with people and inspire personal transformation.
Keep it Simple
The sermons that are remembered are the simple ones. Unless you are speaking to a theology class, cut out all the long technical jargon and keep your language simple.
Resist the temptation to go off on tangents. Make sure each point is related to your theme, each illustration is appropriate and is illustrating the point.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t tackle the complicated topics – just break the topic down to its core. You might only focus on one or two aspects of the topic. That’s okay, there is always another time to cover the other sides. Don’t feel that you must cover everything in one message.
People love to hear personal stories. Sprinkle some of your own experiences that relate to your topic into your message. Be vulnerable and open up your life. Let your audience know that you are also on the same journey as they are. No one has ‘arrived’ at perfection, we are all still growing and learning.
One Takeaway Point
A Sunday morning thirty-minute message only needs one takeaway point. This is an overall theme that is woven throughout. It flavours through every illustration, Bible verse and structure of the message. Emphasise this takeaway point at the end by including a call to action – what does the listener need to do, think, or believe now?A Sunday morning thirty-minute message only needs one takeaway point.Click To Tweet
Make Good Use of Technology
When I was a young girl sitting in church, there was no technology and we were taught to sit for long periods of time listening to the sermon. Today we have access to amazing technology that if used well can enhance and inspire our listeners. Technology takes advantage of our listeners senses.
Include a short video clip, image or sound bite that helps to reinforce your point. But keep it simple. Don’t fill your PowerPoint slides with lots of words – white space is good. Our pastor delivered the most memorable sermon when he wore a Roman soldiers uniform with all the armor and weaponry – it bought Ephesians chapter 6 alive!
Preach the Word
“The sermon which does not lead to Christ, or of which Jesus Christ is not the top and the bottom, is a sort of sermon that will make the devils in hell laugh, but make the angels of God weep.”- Charles Spurgeon
Ensure that Christ and the Word is central. For Him to be glorified in our preaching, He needs to feature in our sermons.
Pray for your Listeners
The most important key to a powerful and engaging sermon is prayer. Soak your sermon preparation time in prayer. Pray before you start thinking of ideas. Pray as you research. Pray when you organise your structure. Pray as your type up your notes. Pray as you practice.
Pray not just for yourself but primarily for your listeners. Pray that the right people attend – people who need to hear the message that is on your heart. Pray that they will understand and hear God’s voice speaking to them personally. Pray for the soil of their hearts.
Now over to you – what do think makes a sermon powerful and engaging? Share your discoveries in the comments below.