Monday, April 07, 2008

Do You Preach From a Manuscript?

A recent blog post from Dr. Ray Pritchard gives his insights to a practical question. Here are the first five of his 12 points. To read the entire article, click on

Do You Preach From a Manuscript?

This question arrived yesterday from a young man just starting in the ministry. I’m going to take a stab at it and then invite others to weigh in.

"Perhaps this is a question you could post on your blog. I’m a young guy just starting to preach. I’m still learning how to exactly formulate my notes and thoughts for good delivery on Sunday morning. Currently I prepare a pretty detailed outline. But I’ve benefited greatly from preachers like yourself who do an entire written manuscript. I noticed that Brian Bill seems to do this. I’m curious how this works. Do you just read the entire thing? Do you memorize it? And how do you make the reading dynamic?"

1) Like most preachers, I have changed my style more once than during my ministry. In my earliest days, I preached without notes. Later I preached using extensive notes (10-14 pages). Still later I preached from a manuscript. Later I preached using brief notes (a page or so). These days I vary what I do depending on the message, the topic and the audience.

2) Obviously there isn’t one right or wrong way. You have find what works for you.

3) That said, in today’s world I think we can safely say that the fewer notes you use, the better. That’s true for most people–not for everyone.

4) The great enemy of preaching from a manuscript is that you lose eye contact with the audience. It can sound like a lecture instead of a sermon.

5) I have utilized a complete manuscript in the pulpit mostly when I was preaching on a controversial topic and needed to choose my words carefully.


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