Preaching Without Notes (Part 1)
When I first started preaching I used to write out my notes fully. It was probably a good move, as no doubt I dodged a few bullets of “heresy” in the process. Yet what I have learned as I have become less and less dependent on notes over the years is that my communication has greatly improved in delivery and effectiveness, and that preaching without notes is a skill well worth learning.
The idea of preaching without notes is both attractive and intimidating. There is a natural delight in the idea of freedom and yet a fear that arises with the fateful thought, “What if I forget everything?!”
So the next couple of blog posts are going to be on this topic, not just thoughts, but also strategies and techniques, as well as dealing with some of the concerns, so I hope you find them helpful. Firstly, let me make a case for not using notes, or using minimal creative prompts when delivering a sermon.
Some BENEFITS of NOT using notes:
1. Your energy is directed toward your audience rather than:
a) into the lectern – for those who place their hands on either side of the lectern and lean down when they preach, I’m looking at you. It may be the classic “old fashioned preacher pose” but it is ineffective when it comes to engaging communication. All the energy goes through your hands and into the lectern. It’s also the same posture people use when they are scared on a roller-coaster.
b) into the floor – this might take you by surprise, but when you stand behind a lectern, your body will naturally gravitate backward to rest on your heels. It is subtle shift in balance, yet significantly redirects your energy away from your audience. Imagine you are giving someone a handshake while leaning away. Awkward right? That’s what the audience feels when your energy is directed into the floor.