Please, don’t’ drop your voice at the end of every sentence and often at
the end of every phrase. Sometimes the last word in a sentence is the
“crunch” word. If you don’t know whether you do, ask your wife! A single
elocution lesson could make all the difference to your ability to preach the
Avoid the “hum” and the “er”. One local parson was once counted as
inserting these words at the rate of about thirty a minute. The fact that
someone counted them, I think, makes the point.
Yes, write out your sermon by all means, but don’t write it as you would
an essay and then read it out. Avoid parentheses as much as possible. Use
short sentences. Your congregation expect to be addressed - not read to.
Look at them - often. Point to them - sometimes - but do not point to any
one of them. Point to half way up the west window. If the sheep are on the
right hand, point to your left (It is their right!) Don’t talk about “a
man”, call him George or Horace.
A former precentor of Westminster Abbey once said that he had spent much
time perfecting the art of reading a sermon without appearing to do so. One
local parson preaches an excellent sermon, but it is plainly read. He never
lifts his eyes from the script. Pity!
© The Estate of William John Green, 2004