You will have gathered that I sit and listen more to preaching than I’ve done for at least 20 years. Some observations (some of these apply to any public talk I’ve listened to); most of which make we wince- I was guilty of many of these:-
1: Reading from a script (with no eye contact) does not raise much interest- it usually kills it- particularly if your voice sounds like you are just reading.
2: Talking without a script is great, but not so good when it comes across as aimless and without structure.
3: Most people can’t speak for more than 10 minutes without being boring, so why bother with 20. Some people can’t manage 2 or 3 minutes…
4: How is it possible to be a trained preacher and not know how to speak in front of people?
5: Can you summarise what you are going to say in one sentence? If you can’t, it generally makes it harder for your audience to know what you are saying.
6: The ‘language of Zion’ used repeatedly tends to obfuscate, not enlighten.
7: The person who rarely attends, the guest or the one who is ‘just looking’ is the most important person in the room; not us regulars. If you can’t speak to them, stop.
8: Your honesty and how the passage connects with you is really appealing. If I know what makes sense/fires/puzzles you, I’ll listen.
9: Generally the thoughts of cultural figures from the 1950s who are long dead don’t communicate to us today.
10: I don’t expect to be entertained, but neither do I want to be bored to the point of fury by irrelevance.
Short of saying ‘nice tie’ I don’t know what to say to a preacher when I experience everything apart from number 8. I mean: I’m sure you’ve spent a long time preparing and it is tough, but….