A big part of being a kids pastor or youth pastor is public speaking. As pastors, we’re all confronted with the same questions each week: What am I going to teach on? What is God desiring to say to His people? How can I best communicate this message?
What makes this task even more difficult is the fact that many of us next generation pastors have limited formal training when it comes to sermon preparation and preaching. Yet, I do believe we can learn to be effective communicators of God’s word if we will make sermon preparation a priority.
It starts with a plan and a structure. Once you’ve decided on the text and the topic, then I recommend following Rhonda Abram’s counsel to visualize your message as a house.
This house has three basic parts.
- The Foundation. This is your introduction. This is where you gain the listeners’ attention, reveal the big idea and read the main scriptures. A good question to ask here is, “What do I want my audience to remember?”
- The Support Beams. These are your key points. I like to limit my messages to three or four supporting beams. A good question to ask here is, “What do I want my audience to learn or know?”
- The Roof. This is your conclusion. Here you recap your key points, give a call to action and request a response. A good question to ask here is, “What do I want my audience to do?”
Once you’ve completed this process, it’s now time to add some custom features to your house. These may come in the form of a joke, personal story, or a well thought out illustration. Finally, you can always add some trim, like a power point, special video or object lesson.
Speaking week after week can become draining, and if we’re not careful we can allow sermon preparation to take a back seat to administrative duties, pastoral visitations or mercy ministries. The early Apostles wrestled with this same issue in Acts chapter 6. They concluded their most important tasks were prayer and the ministry of God’s Word (Acts 6:1-6).
It would be wise for us to follow in their example, and make time to build a strong house.
Speaking week after week can become draining, and if we’re not careful we can allow sermon preparation to take a back seat