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Preaching on My Feet

Could I speak for 35 minutes without ever writing notes?

I have recently been experimenting with a preaching method that is stretching me like nothing I've done before. To use a phrase from author Fred Lybrand, I have been "preaching on my feet." And this appears to be an enduring adventure.

The adventure began when I found Lybrand's book Preaching on Your Feet, which I expected to describe the benefits of an unscripted approach to preaching that fosters eyeball-to-eyeball engagement with hearers. He did that, but he went on to describe what I had not anticipated—a preaching experience that includes a greater sense of inspiration, freedom, and being fully in the moment. That caught my interest. I could identify with his description of the disconnect that can occur with scripted preaching between the inspiration experienced in the study versus what actually happens in delivery. How many times have I outlined a sermon that was powerful to me in the study but sagged in the pulpit?

No memorized script

As Lybrand describes it, preaching on your ...

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Displaying 1–5 of 6 comments

Brian Talley

June 13, 2009  7:33am

Great Article! I am a new Pastor and I do not have the educational background most do that preach from the pulpit. I did not go to a seminary school or did great even with my public school eduction because I simply did not care when I was younger. This played a big role in my life for message preparation because I simply did not know how. I did the detailed outlines to find myself lost. So I decided to let God be God one day and just let him have it! I have had the best sermons ever because I was telling people about what Jesus DID FOR ME and how he got me out of it! This is real for people because people are in the moment as well as I am and that passion that is in me (The Holy Spirit) comes out to be real for both parties. However, I have found that rabbits do get chased sometimes and it does work best to have notes to keep me on track. I do know this, study to show thyself approved! No Study, Less Passion, Less Freedom to Preach because I get in the way!

Pastor Melveeta Harewood

June 04, 2009  11:37am

Great article! My mentor and father in the Gospel has always encouraged me by telling my to preach what is down in me. I always relied on well prepared notes, and usually stuck with them, but after delivering my sermon, I sometimes felt that I had come up short. One Sunday after much preparation and prayer, I decided to let the Holy Spirit do what He wanted to do through me. After sharing my topic and reading the related Scripture, I hit the ground running. What a much liberty! I pray God allows me to continue to rightly divide the Word of Truth as I continue to "preach on my feet"

Jon Karn

May 30, 2009  3:11am

I read Fred's book last year on vacation. I've been praying about whether or not to try his approach. I am VERY picky about three things: Being succinct, being clear and not just saying the right thing but saying the right thing memorably. I wonder if I am a suitable candidate for "Preaching On Your Feet".

Scott Cassady

May 26, 2009  10:08am

As a result of this article, I bought the book and enjoyed it. I'm not sure I am ready to go "cold-turkey" as Craig did; however, I am intrigued by the process and intend to work toward trying to "preach on my feet." The propspect of freedom that issue from deep, careful study of the text is exciting to me. However, I can't help but wonder if we overplay the loss of connection created through the use of a manuscript or outline. Is this a verified problem or an assumed one? I think there is much more to the pathos of preaching than simple eye contact. These other elements bring balance to those moments when eye-contact is lost because you glance at a manuscript or outline. I would appreciate some feedback on this last line of thought.

James Larkin

May 20, 2009  8:39pm

Thanks for the article Craig. I too am like you, introverted, logical, deep thinker and like to write out everything. But I have always been intrigued by those who preach with no notes. I felt led by the Spirit to try it once after I watched Dave McClellan's advertisements for Preach By Ear. I too felt exhilirated by the experience and found that the delivery was just as good if not better than normal. But I've been too chicken to try it again since. Part of that is all the fears you described in the article. I did order the Preach By Ear DVD's though and now your article has encouraged me to get going on learning the art of "preaching on my feet."

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