Sermon delivery. It’s an art, a moment, an experiential occasion. But sometimes it can seem like a train wreck. Often, the delivery of the sermon is the thing new preachers struggle with the most. But even some seasoned veterans still struggle with delivering sermons that both engage and edify.
I believe with all my heart that sermon delivery can be improved upon, but it takes intentionality. And the first step toward improvement is to recognize what not to do.
Top 10 Mistakes Preachers Make in Sermon Delivery
1. Flip on the “preacher voice”
It’s one thing to elevate your energy since you’re speaking to a crowd, but it’s completely different to alter your voice altogether. Hey, it’s good to see you. How are you doing with the new job? The preacher sounded normal there.
But then they stepped into the pulpit…
Good morning, hallelujah. Let’s open up in our Bibles to the book of Isaiah.
All of a sudden, the preacher transformed into a golden radio voiced announcer at the local arena.
If this is you, here’s what that communicates: You’re being fake.
2. Walk into the pulpit underprepared
There may be nothing more detrimental to your sermon delivery than being underprepared.
Because when you don’t know what you’re going to say, you are chained to your notes or chained to your “uhms.”
Instead of being free to deliver the message with power and passion, you’re checking for directions, missing turns, trying to do u-turns and looking around, wondering how to get to your destination.
3. Stare at the back wall
In most churches, if you stare at the back wall, everyone will notice.
Think about it.
If you’re having coffee with a friend and they look past you the entire time, you probably would either wonder if they even care about you or you would ask them if something is wrong.
Anytime someone avoids eye contact, we grow suspicious of that person.
If your goal is to communicate that your message is disconnected to everyone’s life, the back wall is a good place to stare at.
I promise it’s not a sin to step to the side of that wooden behemoth of a pulpit. This is especially important if your gathering space is set up wide.
If we don’t move our legs and our arms, we communicate a lack of energy.
It’s unnatural to stand still for long periods of time.
5. Keep your voice in the middle
We all have our natural talking voice. But it is always a mistake when preaching to keep our pitch and our volume in the middle the entire time.
If you want to lull the congregation to sleep, keep the same speaking pattern. Always end a sentence low or always end a sentence high. These are surefire ways to help people catch up on Zzzz’s.