You may have heard the saying that “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it!” With that in mind, these five sermon delivery tips will help you communicate more effectively.
Because the truth is, people are absorbing more than just your words.
As you better understand how your non-verbal communication and your delivery style affect the way your message is received, you’ll be able to preach with greater confidence. Let’s dive in!
Table of contents
5 Sermon Delivery Tips for Communicators
1. Master the Elements of Nonverbal Communication
You may have heard this before, but 93% of your communication is nonverbal. Your audience is reading your every move, so it’s vital that you’re aware of the messages you’re sending.
Specifically, 55% is body language and 38% is paralanguage (volume, tone, etc.)
Let’s tackle body language first. Here are major components of nonverbal communication to consider when you get up to preach:
- Posture – How you stand or sit can communicate confidence or insecurity. Make sure your posture is open and relaxed.
- Gestures – Keep them natural and relatively small.
- Eye contact – Maintaining eye contact shows that you’re engaged with your audience and confident in what you’re saying.
- Facial expressions – A genuine smile goes a long way in connecting with your audience.
- Dress – Your clothing should be appropriate for the occasion, fit your context, and show respect for your audience.
2. Adjust Your Pacing, Inflection, and Tone
The term paralanguage refers to the nonverbal elements of communication that are expressed through your voice. This includes your pacing, intonation, and volume.
- Pacing is how fast or slow you speak. If you speak too quickly, it can sound like you’re nervous or unsure of what you’re saying. On the other hand, speaking too slowly can make you sound bored or disinterested. The key is to find a balance and speak at a natural pace.
- Inflection is the rise and fall of your voice, which can emphasize certain words or convey emotion. For example, you would use a different inflection if you were asking a question than if you were making a statement.
- Tone is the overall quality of your voice, which can communicate confidence, happiness, anger, etc. Make sure your tone of voice matches what you’re saying.
- Volume is how loudly or softly you speak. While some are accustomed to fiery preaching and consider it a display of passion, others interpret this as “being yelled at” and are put off by loud volume. On the other hand, speaking too softly makes it difficult to understand and conveys timidity.
3. Connect with Your In-Room Audience
Are you trying to deliver the world’s greatest speech, or are you trying to pastor and teach people? The point of these sermon delivery tips isn’t to help you develop a perfectly polished sermon, but to serve your audience!
For example, using “you” language immediately draws listeners in and helps them feel like you’re speaking directly to them.
And we’ll say it again: eye contact is the primary key to connection. Be sure you’re looking around the room, and if you can preach without notes this is even easier to do.
Also, remember to be genuine, relatable, and humble. Sharing personal stories, especially about failures or shortcomings, makes you more relatable and helps people feel like they can connect with you.
4. Surprise Them With Something Extra
If you’ve been in the Christian preaching world for a couple of decades, you’ve probably seen both wins and fails when it comes to using props and special elements for sermon illustrations.
Or maybe you clearly remember when Andy Stanley started preaching beside a touchscreen TV. Suddenly, everybody was doing it!
You shouldn’t chase trends or go overboard with elements that end up feeling forced and gimmicky. However, if you add a prop, video, physical illustration, or pull someone else on stage, it will definitely catch people’s attention and make the message more memorable.
To make it easy and unobtrusive, you can add a simple visual, utilizing your screens to display a photo, quote, or graph with facts and numbers.
Out of all the sermon delivery tips, we encourage you to use this one with caution. Be careful not to:
- Spend more time on special elements than you do crafting a high-quality message.
- Force it or go over the top.
- Overuse special elements; if you do it every week they’ll lose their impact.
5. Deliver Your Message to an Online Audience
In today’s world, it’s more important than ever to consider your online audience when delivering a sermon.
You may be preaching to a room of people, but you also need to think about those who are tuning in via social media or your church’s live stream or those who will watch the message recording at a later date.
When considering your online audience, think about how the non-verbal habits we listed above can be translated.
For example, looking directly into the camera is the equivalent of eye contact. You don’t want to read your sermon word-for-word off a teleprompter but imagine the person behind the camera lens.
Also, consider how your movement, posture, and gestures fit into the frame and will translate to an online viewer.
Sermon Delivery Tips For Pastors
Do you have other tips to share? Comment below and let us know.
In the meantime, we hope you’ll put these five sermon delivery tips into practice so that you can make the right connection and preach with confidence.