Tips for Church Speeches That Work for All Occasions
Did you know there are about 350,000 churches in America? That means there are as many - if not more - sermons taking place across the country on any given Sunday.
Whether they're online or in-person, packed to the gills or half empty, church leaders across the nation try to deliver impactful sermons that will change people's lives. That's no small feat.
And, of course, those pastors work on speeches for all the different occasions, not just for Sunday morning services. But all the speeches contain similar elements.
Together, let's examine a brief guide on effectively getting the message across.
1) Church Speeches for All Occasions: Accentuate the Positive
You want to stay positive, encouraging and hopeful instead of using finger-pointing and a condemning tone. When addressing audiences, there comes a time when church leaders need to bring the flock back home. Maybe there's discord or dissension within the church family. Whatever the case may be, for the most part, one of the best practices for church leaders is to stay positive and hopeful. Remind people they can change or they can embrace Jesus instead of making whatever is going on seem like an uphill battle.
2) Church Speeches for All Occasions: Be Authentic
This sounds rather obvious, right? But it can happen from time to time when trying to deliver a speech that resonates... people feel they must act or sound differently.
Sure! You don't want to stand on the platform speaking in slang or being too informal. But you want to maintain an air of authenticity. Speak as closely as you can to the way you'd normally talk. Don't use phrases like "utilize your prayer journal daily" when you can say "write in your prayer journal every day." People can often sniff out someone who's being disingenuous. Be sure to keep the audience in mind and speak to them as you would a friend in another setting.
3) Church Speeches for All Occasions: Include a Narrative
People are born storytellers (or story listeners.) That's why testimonies are so powerful. We can relate to people better when we understand where they're coming from or why they feel a certain way.
Include a narrative or testimonial either early on in your speech or at the end during your closing remarks. This will help make members and newcomers feel welcome. Beginning with a narrative will help people understand why you're speaking on the topic at hand. Or you can quickly hit your point and close with a narrative to reassure congregants that living for God is possible.
Sometimes, people remember narratives more than the meat of the topic.
4) Church Speeches for All Occasions: Scan the Crowd
Of course, notes and outlines are handy. Some would even argue they're essential. But don't stick so close to your script that you forget to engage.
Scan the crowd as you speak. Move around as much as possible. Make everyone feel like at some point or another you were speaking directly to them. Again, this is all about the congregation, not you.
This is one of the best ways to deliver a speech that resonates. Connect with everyone in the sanctuary, whether you've known them for a decade or have never set eyes on them before. The Spirit will help you connect with the right person at the right time.
5) Church Speeches for All Occasions: Pause for Effect
The pacing of your speech matters as much as your pacing on the platform. As you write your sermon, you'll feel those moments when you want to make sure the congregation "gets it." During those striking moments, don't be afraid of a little radio silence. Pause for effect when you want certain points to linger. We tend to increase the speed of our speech when we're hyped up on a certain topic. And that's okay, too.
Just be sure to keep things varied and dynamic. And don't be afraid to pause when you want a point to stick in people's minds.
6) Church Speeches for All Occasions: Know the Needs
As a church leader, you're in tune with your people's needs. Perhaps one couple needs counseling. Or maybe there are a few single men and women who are battling loneliness.
If you know your audience, no matter the occasion, you can weave in a certain theme that will resonate with just about everyone. The more your congregation remains at the forefront of your mind, the more you'll be able to touch their hearts.
7) Church Speeches for All Occasions: Lean on the AV Department
Some of the most enigmatic speakers don't need anything more than an introductory slide on the screen. They can take it from there with fervor, passion and a desire to change people's lives.
That said, most occasions do well with a few visual and/or audiovisual add-ons. For example, put up a focus verse with an encouraging image. Or maybe when you get to the narrative portion of your speech, perhaps you could share a couple of relevant photos. Having something to keep the congregation engaged up front will always be a boost to the message at hand.
8) Church Speeches for All Occasions: Don't Be Afraid to Stir the Pot
We led with "stay positive." But sometimes you have to stir things up a little. This doesn't mean you should finger point, blame or just be mean.
Coming from a place of conviction will help your congregation understand the gravity of what you're saying. Perhaps you feel it in your heart to take a stand against lying, dishonesty or adultery. You can do this by choosing a Bible verse that resonates with you the most. Tie in narratives that will inspire people to turn away from (or accept) something.
In all forms of public speaking, zeal counts. But when you're in the business of saving souls, don't be afraid to be bold and let your fervor shine.
9) Church Speeches for All Occasions: Rewrite and Revise
It's always wise to rewrite and revise a sermon. The truth is, it's easy to go off on little tangents throughout a message. We do this in our everyday speech and conversations.
In the revision stage, you'll be able to ensure you've stayed on topic and have included all the impactful moments you need to tie in. You'll see where you can integrate certain bits of scripture and where you can leave a little wiggle room for storytelling.
10) Church Speeches for All Occasions: Pray
We saved the best for last. The number one tip for an effective church speech... prayer!
Ask the Lord what He wants you to say. Ask Him to guide you to the right scriptures and tell the right stories. Then, when you've crafted something you feel good about, return to the Lord again and ask him to bless your words. Pray that it'll touch people and that the Word will get into their hearts.
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