In a couple weeks I’m preaching for Graduation Sunday when we recognize all the high school seniors in church services. I’m also the speaker for our town’s high school baccalaureate service, so I’ve got a couple significant speaking engagements coming up.
As I was thinking through a little of what I’ll be teaching at both events, a couple things came to mind about what makes someone a good presenter on a stage. I am definitely no expert, but I do watch people when they present and see a couple common traits among the ones that I appreciate most. Here’s what I’ve learned from them:
1. Know your content and know it well. I don’t mean memorize a script because people can tell when you’re just reciting something no matter how much emotion you try to infuse into it. Know your main ideas, the direction of your message, and be able to talk as if it’s a one-sided conversation, not a school report.
2. Be passionate about what you’re teaching. Passion isn’t something you can fake or muster up. Passion isn’t necessarily a loud voice or an energetic stage presence. It’s something that everyone can sense, but no one can quite put their finger on it because they can see it in your eyes and hear it in your voice because it’s obvious that you’ve put your lesson into practice in your own life long before you delivered it to them.
3. Use God’s Word to point out sin and weaknesses in people’s lives. Communicate God’s Word clearly and let Him convict. I learned this over the past several years by listening to my favorite podcast preachers: Craig Grochel, Perry Noble and Mark Driscol. People, including myself, are tired of watered-down messages that remind them of something they need to do or change without pushing them to do it in ways that might otherwise be offensive.
4. Use God’s Word to encourage people in their spiritual walk. The best messages I remember are the ones that both convict me and encourage me. If it’s all conviction every time I listen to someone teach, I feel depressed and unmotivated. But when it’s coupled with encouragement, the conviction can sink in without wallowing in it.
5. Be vulnerable. I know most teachers don’t think of themselves as the expert, so be intentional about communicating that. Let your audience see windows into your failures, your weaknesses and your struggles, and how the Lord is working or has worked in you through those areas so it encourages others. Plus, people respect what you have to say when they know you’re being real with them.
6. Saturate your messages in prayer. Need I say more?
7. As you prepare your messages, approach God’s Word with fear, trembling, and deep respect. The old adage is true, “Familiarity breeds contentment.” This is God’s-breathed Word, not just spiritual Mother Goose rhymes. Don’t take it lightly. It’s a huge privilege and responsibility that will incur a stricter judgment upon yourself (James 3:1).
What else do you see in certain pastors that makes them good teachers from a stage?
Posted on May 13, 2009