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Delivery: Part 2: Examples of Excellent Sermon Delivery

How do I speak in a way that arrests hearers?

Preaching Today Audio Examples of Excellent Sermon Delivery

Comparing our sermon delivery with that of others can be a big mistake. Every preacher is unique, and comparisons often lead only to pride, envy, or despair. On the other hand, just because our delivery is unique does not mean it is fully developed. Comparisons can open our eyes to things no one else will tell us. For that reason, if we can accept who God made us to be, we can benefit enormously by comparing our sermon delivery to other preachers with a similar style in order to get a better sense of what our unique style can be at its best.

So the purpose of listening to others is not to imitate them slavishly. This would violate one of the key characteristics of an effective delivery: authenticity. Instead, the goal is to make the most of our delivery within the range of what is authentic and possible for us.

For some of us, this means mustering more energy or variety. Or, by comparing our delivery to someone with a similar style, we may realize we do not articulate as well as we could, or express enough feeling. For others, it may mean backing off a notch on intensity—we flat-out scare people! By listening to others who have an effective delivery, and comparing theirs with our own, we get a better sense of what an effective delivery sounds like within our style and range.

As you evaluate the delivery of other preachers, and then your own, we suggest you use the following criteria:

First, evaluate based on the purpose of sermon delivery. An effective delivery accomplishes three objectives:

1. Fosters engagement and interest. Someone with a great delivery can read the phone book and make it interesting.
2. Communicates emotion, tone, and attitude. An effective sermon delivery leads by example in the emotions, tone, and attitude that a listener should have toward what is being discussed.
3. Conveys meaning. Through pauses, inflection, pace, pitch, volume, and phrasing, the preacher helps hearers understand. For example, the word no has a different meaning when it is shouted emphatically than when it is uttered in the tone of a question.

Second, evaluate sermon delivery on qualities that fulfill the purposes above:

1. Variety (versus being flat, monotone)
2. Energy (versus being weak, listless)
3. Authenticity (versus the sense that the speaker is performing)

(Click for printable evaluation form.)

We suggest you listen to segments from several preachers below and respond as follows:

• Determine whether you think their delivery is effective overall. Is it interesting, engaging? Does it encourage feelings that suit the topic? Does the delivery help you understand words and sentences? If you answered yes, try to identify what it is about the delivery that accomplishes this.
• Evaluate each sermon delivery in terms of its (1) variety, (2) energy, and (3) authenticity.
• Then listen to one of your own sermons and evaluate your delivery on the same criteria.
• As you compare your delivery to that of other preachers, how are you similar or dissimilar in regard to the way God has "hard-wired" you? What are the strengths of your delivery, and how can you make them even better? What specific areas stand out as needing work?

Click on the links below to hear the audio examples.

John Ortberg
"Fourth Man in the Furnace"

Rick Warren
"What Difference Does Easter Make"

Rob Bell
"The Goat Has Left the Building"

James MacDonald
"Self in the Dirt"

Andy Stanley
"Paying Your Dues"

Haddon Robinson
"The Disciple's Prayer"

Robert Smith, Jr.
"Praying Through God's Silence"

Jon Courson
"Renouncing Bitterness"

Leith Anderson
"Good News and Bad News in America"

Chuck Swindoll
"Reasons to Be Thankful"

Introduction | Part 1: Workshops | Part 2: Examples of Excellent Sermon Delivery
Part 3: Self-Evaluation | Part 4: Want More?

Related articles

Delivery: Introduction

How do I speak in a way that arrests hearers?

Delivery: Part 1: Workshops

How do I speak in a way that arrests hearers?

Delivery: Part 3: Self-Evaluation

How do I speak in a way that arrests hearers?