Message prep goes hand in hand with being a pastor or church leader. However, it often feels like it’s a free for all without any real guidance.
While the actual words must come from your heart and beliefs, prepping the message doesn’t have to feel overwhelming or impossible.
By using this ultimate guide, you’ll create more effective messages that keep your listeners or readers more engaged. Plus, they’ll remember the message easier.
Ask Questions On Your Blog
A large part of message prep is determining what to talk about. Go to your church’s blog and read the comments. Even better, dedicated one post per week to a question. You might post a link to a story you found interesting and ask for their thoughts. You’d be amazed at how much insight you’ll get into what your members find most important.
Ask Questions On Social Media
Another great avenue for message ideas is social media. Post questions, devotionals, Christian images and more. Read the comments to see what people think about your posts. Once again, it’s valuable insight to help you create more effective messages.
Pay Attention To Comments
Sometimes comments both online and offline offer a lifetime of inspiration for better messages. Pay attention to the questions people are asking. See how others are responding. Discover what drives your members and those in your extended church community.
Listen To Your Members’ Struggles
What’s currently going on in your members’ lives? What obstacles are they facing? It’s easy to get caught up in your own struggles that your message prep is all about you and your experiences. While you should never mention anyone directly, use your members’ struggles to create more targeted messages that resonate and help guide them better.
Keep The Message Tightly Focused
Now that you have ideas, it’s time to get the technical part of the message prep. One of the most important things to remember is to keep the message tightly focused. If you want people to pay attention, avoid rambling or going so far off topic that no one remembers where you started. Think of it more like blogging. Your church has a blog that’s focused on Christianity. However, each post should focus on something more specific, not just Christianity in general.
Limit Yourself To 3-5 Main Points
Science has shown that the average person only remembers 3-4 things at a time. So, if you’re creating a message, you want to limit yourself to 3-5 points. Ideally, three is best. If you go to five, know that only some people will remember it.
Organize Your Message Carefully
The next step to a more effective message prep is organization. While this guide focuses on speeches, it’s a good guideline for spiritual messages, both online and in church, too.
Your members and readers are visual creatures. If you want your message to capture their attention, find a way to incorporate more visuals. You might have a praise and worship background with your main points during your sermon. You might consider putting each blog sub-head on Christian backgrounds to make them stand out more.
Practice, Practice, Practice
If you’re prepping a sermon, practice is vital. Stand in front of a mirror. Gather a few friends or fellow leaders around. This helps you refine your message so it’s more engaging to your members.
If you’re prepping an online message, proof it carefully. You’ll find errors, but that’s the point. Even better, get others to help review it for you for not just grammatical issues, but clarity too.
The last element of more effective message prep is asking for feedback. Whether you’re prepping a sermon, a blog post, video or social media post, encourage feedback. While you’ll get some criticisms, you’ll also get constructive feedback that helps you continuously improve.
A great way to connect and learn more about your members is through your church website. If you don’t have one, create one today to create better messages and reach more people with your message.