When I used to be a missionary, I wrote the following points down as a way to help me speak well. Even though I’m no longer a missionary, I think the principles in many of these points can be adapted to public speaking in any circle. Whether you are a fan of missions or not, I think with an open heart, you can learn something that will improve your public speaking abilities.
Teach “How to” Lessons instead of “Ought to” Lessons
For every “ought to” there is an equal but opposite (and better) “how to” that shows people how to make a positive move and avoid the bad behavior. For every negative message, there is an equal but opposite (and better) positive message that shows people the way out instead of making their weakness the main lesson. When you preach how to messages, you will always be able to mention the weakness in passing as you make your way to the more important “how to” part which is the key of your sermon. When you preach “how to”, you are preaching life-change. Never preach about the problem. Preach about the solution. Every time you see a problem, a negative thing, an “ought to”, let it remind you that you need to preach about the “how to”. Instead of preaching about the commandment, “Do not lie”. Preach “How to be honest.” You wouldn’t lie if you were taught how to be honest and did become honest. This style of teaching, writing, and blogging helps you be able to be a bearer of good news without becoming a prosperity preacher.
Don’t accuse, exhort people to live honorable lives.
Love people deeply before you go to talk with them
Take a peek at the audience or imagine them, then pray for God to give you a great love for them, and words of love to build them up. Ask yourself; do you genuinely love the people? Preach out of love, always. Love people passionately. Learn because of love. Let love for people be the reason you speak. Love is foundational. Love builds up.
There is an ancient teaching that says: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” A proverb says “Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.”
When you love people deeply, you see that start covering over their sins, even though there may be many of them. Then it shows in your speaking.
Teach as one who is also making a lot of mistakes that may be worse
View and preach about sin as a person who is also struggling with the same problems. Don’t talk as though you were exempt from the same struggles. Enter their shoes and wrestle with it and show them the way out of it, from the inside out. In your mind and preaching, go into their dungeon where they are trapped by their mistakes and speak from there, considering all the frustrations, rationalizations, excuses and temptations they are facing. From there, show them a way out. Don’t preach as one who stands from outside and calls them out. Instead, preach as one who goes inside and holds their hand to take them out. To preach like that, you need to go into their world, their mind, and understand full well their struggles and temptations and frustrations. Then provide an answer to each one and show them the way out. The more you know about their struggles from the inside and empathize with them, the better the teaching will be from this point of view. You are able to do this when you yourself connect with your own reality and see that your struggles, your weaknesses are just as bad as theirs. We all struggle with the same human weaknesses. The difference is just that each of us struggles differently.
Preach as one of the people –Humility is Key
You are a man, you are preaching to your brothers, your equals… so say we are going astray on this. We need to change! Plead as one of the crowd; don’t set yourself up on a pedestal. Speak like Daniel. View them as brothers, equals. But when you say what God says, frame is as God’s words. In this way, you remain humble. Avoid all condescension. Almost always, the preacher is also guilty as the people because he did not pray and intercede for the people or also suffer the same weaknesses too. So the tone should be, “no none person is responsible, and no Christian is completely free of blame”. We need to rise up and live worthy of the call that we have been called… Preachers also have weaknesses and need to grow. Sometimes, they have to preach about things they are struggling with. The standard is not their level of success, the standard is Christ Jesus and what he says in the scriptures. So use we; you and I; us; our, etc. Don’t use “you”, “they”, “some people” etc. except rarely. That way, you don’t talk at them as though you are free of blame. But don’t lower the word of Christ one bit! Even if you are failing, preach Christ’s perfection and exhort all of us to live up to it in all seriousness–don’t let this slide into preaching the word and having people say Amen to tough preaching and never change as happens in some of our churches. Humility is key.
Let your preaching be motivated by a higher purpose
Your preaching should be motivated by something bigger than yourself. Something even bigger than your audience. Don’t teach simply to make a buck or two. Don’t be self-centered. Also, don’t help your audience be self-centered. Help them see inside themselves something they haven’t seen before. Show them a better way. Show them that they are treasures in earthen vessels.
Speak the truth in love
Remember that love covers a multitude of sins. Love doesn’t try to uncover a person’s sins. “When the circumstances call for it, love can use the sword, though by her nature she would rather bind up the broken heart and minister to the wounded.” A. W. Tozer. The truth spoken without love is the letter, which kills. God is love. God is love; you cannot communicate him without love. No matter how powerfully you preach the truth, no matter how hard the truth is flung at the mistakes in the people’s lives, if it’s not wrapped in love, it will bounce off their hearts like a balloon on a stone. It makes no impression on them. But when the truth is surrounded by love. It crushes and shatters the heart of sin like a rock shatters glass. Like the law, the truth is perfect and holy, but love is the principal thing. The centrality of love in transformation. Make it a rule to say nothing unless the motivation is love for the person.
Preach in the presence of God
Imagine God in the audience, remember he will one day judge every word you say. Then fall before him and ask him to give you the grace to preach whatever he wants, how he wants it.
The preacher will be judged
As you teach, keep in mind that you will be judged more strictly because of the platform that you have been given. “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Preaching as Worship
Let your preaching be an act of worship. Let it be a time when you enjoy God and worship him. Also, knowing that Satan will steal the word; bring persecution to cause the people to stumble; or choke the word with the deceitfulness of riches, therefore you need to speak the word for say 5 to 10 minutes and lead the people to pray and respond to that word. Then speak and let the people respond with prayer and worship.
Another way to phrase preach as worship is to say, “Preach as someone doing the very thing that they were created to do.”
Preach in the spirit & truth
Preach in tears because you know the depravity of those listening, you know the abundance of God’s riches, the greatness of God’s desire to help save & care for them, but the commitment of these people to resist God. An ancient teach says, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!“
Don’t be a people pleaser
Be a people lover, not a pleaser.
Light yourself on fire every time you preach/speak and burn.
Be a living sacrifice to God in your preaching. “Set yourself on fire with passion & people will come for miles to watch you burn” Author unknown.
Lead people to the chosen generation, the remnant.
When you teach about the harsh reality of the lack of godliness among the people of this world, remember that God has saved for himself a remnant by grace that are not bowing their knee to Baal. So preach to invite and empower others to join the camp of those fully devoted to God. Invite others to join the good party and enjoy living their purpose to the full. Give them a way out; let them know that they don’t have to continue to live that way. They can change crowds. Right now, they are with the wrong crowds and doing the wrong thing… Teach them how to. There are two generations living now; a generation that God has chosen by grace to follow him wholeheartedly and not bow the knee to Baal. This is the narrow road. And there is the generation of people that are bowing and seeking after other Gods. Help people move from the wrong generation to the right generation.
Honor all people
Treat the people you to lead/serve or speak to with honor, not because of them but because you have been called to be their servant, not the other way around.
Preach to the audience as one preaching to a superior.
The chief purpose of preaching is to build faith; it’s to empower people to take action that changes their lives.
Preach to help people believe what is possible for them. What has been accomplished for them already. To help them see that doing things the right way is really the best way for them to do it in the light of eternity. Preach to help them see that God truly loves us so much that they should really trust him and follow him. It’s not mainly to show them what they are doing wrong or urge them to do something. If you get them to believe the right thing, have faith in God and that the right thing is really best, then they will do it without being urged. The most important thing we need to do is believe, change our belief systems. When we do, we will start obeying cheerfully. We will start letting go and letting God. People only do what they believe. People have believed only what they live out. If they aren’t living it out, they don’t believe it (or don’t know how to do it… in that case they will be seeking how to). If it was about forcing people to do something, God would have done it, not us. The beauty of the good news is that it is the good news, not bad news. Preach goodness. Preach God’s grace.
Use Case Studies
Use patient case studies’ as in medicine to teach character development, decision-making using the Bible. During grand rounds, or during rounding, discussing patients, physicians take a certain disease process, discuss it and apply the principles of medicine and the science and art of patient care to it. Then, of course, assume that everything else is held constant since people are very complex and many other things could be going on. Do the same with teaching. Use concrete examples of how people made decisions, choices, and then go back to the principles of truth to see how they could be applied to handling the situation.