Last week, we had another preaching lab. The text assigned to us was intentionally a difficult text from the Old Testatment; 2 Kings 5:1-16. The difficult part is that one, it is a narrative, and preaching from narrative is a bit more tricky than from an epistle. Secondly, it’s a really large, complex, and rich text, and preaching it within 12 minutes is really hard! You have to pick an area to focus on because it’s so difficult to faithfully preach the whole passage within such a short amount of time.
Here’s some of my thoughts about this preaching lab experience, and a rundown of the feedback I received after it was over. If you haven’t read my sermon yet, you can view them by clicking the links below.
Sermon Prep & Outline
Before preaching any text, you have to be changed by it first. I spent a good deal of time just reading the passage and asking God to teach me why this is important for my own heart. Here’s a snapshot of that.
I found that I wasn’t having as much success in outlining this text; something about the process wasn’t taking. I went ahead with my outline, but found that I can better grasp where I want to go with the text when I write things out more fully.
In the last preaching lab, I decided to preach off of an outline (instead of having a manuscript in front of me). Because I can write better than I preach, I’m really tempted to just read off of a manuscript while I’m preaching, which leads to an un-engaging sermon. To try this out further, this time around I developed a “storyboard” to preach from.
What you see below is almost all of my storyboard; there’s just one row of content missing. Using this as the only thing in front of me while I preached was a big deal for me; it forced me to have a firm grasp of what I wanted to say, it forced me to be more comfortable with not reading something word for word. This was a really healthy and helpful step for me. I enjoyed preaching just from this, and I’m going to further develop the use of something like this for future sermons and teachings.
Preaching & Feedback
I realized yesterday that the usual nervousness with preaching wasn’t there at this lab. Normally, I’m so worked up about public speaking that I’m literally having trouble breathing, and just nervous about the whole thing. Not this time. Praise God!
Here’s some specific points of feedback that I received from our pastors and fellow residents.
- I did well at engaging with the audience (it was said that “you did well for you”, meaning that for my personality and character, I improved on engaging.
- My unpacking of the sin problem presented in the text was great; the questions I asked and ways I gave for how to identify heart issues was very good.
- Did well at putting the audience in the story, showing how we are like Naaman.
- My tone and passion in preaching needs more development. It doesn’t have to look like someone else – in fact, the way I speak is a bit more unique and pastoral – but I need to develop my voice. What does passion in preaching look like for me? How can I leverage my personality to engage the audience, and fill the room, with my voice?
- My thesis statement was very clear, and very true to the text, but I didn’t explain as well why it was so important. That wasn’t clear.
In summary, the feedback I received was consistent with what I’ve been told before; my content is money, but delivery is lacking. I really want to grow in this area and be able to match the passion that I have when writing sermons to the actual delivery of them.
I grew a lot from this preaching lab, and I’m thankful that God is pushing me into uncomfortable areas. It’s making me more and more reliant on him and his grace.