Do you want to develop as a preacher? Of course, you do. That’s why you’re reading this. But if you’re like most pastors, it’s hard to know where to start.
Why? Because growing as a preacher can sometimes be too vague to know what to do.
So that’s why we’re going to get specific on how to develop as a preacher. I want to give you some solid takeaways that you can implement today.
5 Great Ways to Continually Develop as a Preacher
1. Watch and Learn From Comedians
Think about it. In our day and time, there are only two consistent places people will go to simply listen to someone talk: church and a comedy club.
And here’s the thing: Comedians are master communicators. They have to be. They stand up and talk for an hour about nothing in particular and yet they are able to hold people’s attention while simultaneously giving them an ab workout from their gut-busting jokes.
We could learn a lot from comedians if we took the time to pay attention.
So one of my best out-of-the-box recommendation for developing as a preacher, specifically in the area of delivery, is to watch and learn from comedians.
If you want to deliver the sermon better, you can expect to learn this from comedians:
- How to use facial expressions to communicate more than words
- How body language can be used intentionally
- How to use your voice to communicate with more thrust
- How to harness the power of the pause
- How to powerfully tell a story
- How to notice everyday life’s teachable moments
There are certainly more things we can learn from comedians, but those will give us a start toward what to watch for when we go to them to learn.
2. Record (Preferably Video) Your Sermons Then Watch, Dissect and Critique Them
This is something I’ve intuitively done since I began preaching. In fact, it was instilled in me from my first preaching class taught by Dr. David Ray at Cincinnati Christian University. If you want to improve, then make sure your preaching is recorded so that you can go back and watch it with a purpose.
Yes, I’m big on getting your sermons on video so that you can better extend the sermon past Sunday by utilizing social media, but what I’m advocating here doesn’t require a setup that would necessarily even go out to the public. You could just have someone record it on a smartphone. Why? Because the goal is for you to simply see what happened.
As you are watching yourself, here are 10 questions to consider:
- Is my focus more on my notes or more on the congregation?
- Am I bringing energy and passion or am I lacking either one? Both?
- Did I preach the Bible faithfully?
- Did I weave the gospel throughout the sermon?
- How well were my illustrations? How could I improve them if I were using them again?
- Was the application of the text natural and faithful to the text and life today?
- How well did I use the power of body language and movement?
- Did I let it all go in the hands of the Holy Spirit or was I depending on my own strength?
- Did I portable-ize the big idea of the sermon?
- How well did I land the plane at the end? What could have been better?
3. Listen to More Preaching From a Variety of Preachers.
If we want to constantly improve as preachers, we must be students of preaching. And one of the simplest ways of doing that is to listen to more preaching. But one of the things that will help even more is to not just listen to a few of your favorite preachers, rather listen to a wide variety of preachers.
If you’re not sure who to listen to, here’s a list of preachers to listen to (who you may not have heard of).
Recently, I got a new phone (rejoined team iPhone, WOOT!) and that meant I had an opportunity to completely reset my podcasting subscriptions. I added Epiphany Fellowship (Dr. Eric Mason), The Rock Church (Miles McPherson), Transformation Church (Derwin Gray), and Calvary Church (Skip Heitzig) to my subscriptions.
I highly recommend you listen to pastors who don’t fully align with you theologically or methodologically. We can learn from anyone.
So let’s be students of the craft. We’ll be better for it.