For the first six years or so of the church I would always walk up on stage with about 10 typed pages of notes. As I preached I would turn the stack of pages up there on the pulpit with me. I was quite tied to my notes. But about two years ago we started image magnification and the feedback I got from those producing the service was that all those pages on the pulpit didn’t look good on the screen. So I decided to get rid of them. I committed to walking up on stage with just my Bible, like many of the great communicators I look up to (Craig Groeschel, Andy Stanley, Perry Noble, etc). Here’s the steps I took to get there:
- I began practicing my message over and over and over and over (about 7x – sometimes more – before I ever preached it to first service).
- When you practice the sermon that much by Sunday you really know it, so each Sunday morning I type up an outline of the message with key words, scriptures or sentences that cue me to what I need to be talking about at that part of the message. I then print these notes out and slide them in my Bible. This frees me up to only have my Bible on stage with me and not all those papers.
Here’s what I like about preaching from the notes in my Bible vs ten pages of printed sermon:
- I think people have a greater confidence in me as a preacher only having my Bible on stage. It creates a feeling in people “This guy knows what he’s talking about.”
- It forces me to really get really familiar with the message in a way I didn’t have to when I was preaching with every word of the sermon typed out in front of me.
- It helps me communicate better. When I had every word in front of me sometimes I accidentally made it the goal of the message to share every word on the paper, instead of having the goal of just communicating my point(s).
- It helps me be more spontaneous and funnier. When I just have a little something written down to cue me as to what point I need to make, I find myself spontaneously coming up with things I didn’t think about throughout the week that better explain the point I’m trying to make. And I’m definitely funnier! Not sure how to explain this – I just am! 🙂
I’m not against notes. There are some great communicators that have forgotten more than I’ll ever know that totally use their typed out sermon to teach from. I just think there are some great benefits to not being so dependent upon them.