LECTURE 19 ON SERMON PREPARATION Methods of Delivery

Miller emphasizes the use of good language. This was my biggest challenge in dealing with interns. Some of them simply lacked the educational background for good vocabulary. Others were just careless in their preparation and simply wanted to say things the easy way instead of the best way. Wide use of language is essential to effective preaching. In a dumbed down society it is easy to descend to the lowest common denominator without realizing that we were made in the image of God and that God communicates in language. Preaching is an experience in education both in ideas and words. Our own experience of reading and literature will help us to be vivid in our presentation. Please use a dictionary. Please use a thesaurus. I grow weary of hearing the same limited vocabulary in sermons.

As Miller points out every sermon is declaratory. This is not a time to debate critical issues, or scientific interpretations, or political agendas. Many have done that. But none of that is relevant unless the people hear the clear declaration of the Gospel. I never wanted to leave the pulpit without knowing that the Gospel had been made clear and that the congregation had been challenged to believe in Christ, And then we apply the truth and as we do this we need to remind ourselves that we are all in the same boat. I like Miller’s quotation of Charles Simeon who said about young preachers that they acted “like butchers, and cut at sin as if they did not have any mercy for sinners.”

Also, applications need to be specific and related to the point of the sermon. God save us from applications that are irrelevant. The appeal needs to be made in sincerity on the basis of the Gospel. It must be earnest and kind, and should not depend on the psychological persuasion of peer pressure or music. It should be a response to the truth. And the expectations should be the same as those of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah and others. God will bring those He chooses, and that is that.

Broadus lists the categories of delivery and they include: reading which includes some great preachers such as Edwards, Chalmers, and Peter Marshall, recitation, extemporaneity (Lack of preparation and organization leads to problems), free Delivery. This requires careful preparation, rehearsal, cultivation of the memory, fitness and faith. Chapell lists all the advantages and disadvantages of the various options that include: Reading, reciting, extemporizing, and combinations. It seems to me that everyone should choose a method in which they have eye contact, precision of expression and spontaneity. Whatever method works for you to produce these effects is good whether it is full manuscript, partial manuscript or no manuscript. A brilliant classmate of mine in Seminary, who later became the president of a seminary, used to memorize his entire sermon after having written it out, word for word. It appeared extemporaneous, but actually, it was carefully crafted.