I went back for the second day of my church conference I mentioned in my last post and the presenter did an excellent job talking about preaching, using Hebrews as an example of a model sermon. I had never seen Hebrews in that light, but it made sense. He also pointed out that Hebrews is based on Psalm 110 and that each chapter includes an Old Testament verse upon which the writer expounds, just like a sermon.
In the midst of his points, the speaker made an appeal that addressed the boredom issue I mentioned yesterday. He said that our goal should be to help people listen, to give them oral assistance! Hallelujah! He used the example of the mother with three children sitting in the pew who is distracted and harried. What help can we give that woman, he asked, so that she can take the message home and meditate or apply it.
I liked that thought, so I want to find ways to provide oral assistance when people listen to me speak. How can I be a better communicator? What can I do that won't take away from the message but will actually assist and serve the message? How can I help them listen? That's a worthy goal, don't you think?
I have sat through way too many meetings when the people finished way before the speaker, but the speaker was determined to finish his message come hell, heaven or high water. I don't want to force feed the people. I don't want to say, "You're going to listen if it kills you. . . and it may very well do so!" My goal is to be like Jesus in Mark 12:37: "And the large crowd listened to him with delight."
Maybe we should start a delightful speakers club or association, all members committed to effective communication, both in and outside the Church. One thing that would be required for that to happen is for speakers to get feedback on their messages, even if it's feedback on a pulpit sermon. Now that would revolutionize speaking and sermonizing overnight! Yet most pastors and leaders don't have the heart or courage to get that kind of evaluation on a regular basis, especially when they believe they are preaching the word of the Lord. But if we are going to be effective, we need that kind of feedback. So what say you, are you ready to join my delightful speakers club? You can be the third member if you write soon, for I am the second member and have already joined. Who was the first member? Why, it was Jesus, of course! This whole club is His idea.