Last Wednesday and Thursday I was in Durham with over 20 other IV staff from the Blue Ridge Region to attend the first ever regional speaker training! Staff young and old, new and seasoned were there to learn some good material and get constructive feedback about upcoming sermons. On Wednesday we had two major training sessions:
- Exegesis — how to understand and get the right ideas from scripture so that we are faithfully presenting the text. The process of reflecting on scripture and finding the core ideas is sometimes arduous but we don’t want to impose our own views on scripture!
- Deliver — how to effectively deliver these ideas so that they will stick and call people to active engagement/response. We must speak in a way that engages folks (even of different learning styles, of different spiritual/religious backgrounds) that is still faithful to the scriptures and it takes planning and practice!
As I took notes and tried to process all I was hearing, I realized just how far short I fall in my own sermon preparation…
- I don’t dig deeply enough into the context – both in surrounding paragraphs (or book as a whole), nor the historical/outside material.
- I don’t go through the grammatical process of diagramming the words to see the real organization of ideas.
- I don’t take the time to distill the text down to the core ideas.
- I don’t exercise the patience to let my own heart soak in what God is trying to say to me personally before I want to jump to application or exhortation.
I was very humbled; I am very far from being the speaker/preacher I want to be. Public speaking and preaching is an area where I definitely need more work as a minister. Please pray that I will commit to a more disciplined process of studying and reflection as I go forward with future sermons!