When you board a plane as a passenger your biggest concern is where you are going to sit or next to whom it may be. However, when boarding the plane as the pilot, you must go through a cockpit checklist to ensure all the preventive and safety measures have been met. Here is your cockpit checklist before preaching!
- Simply ask God: what do you want to speak to your people? The body of Christ is of God. The Holy Spirit is of God. The word is of God. The people are created by God and He, as their (and your) creator knows what they (and you) need.
- Pray for the people that will hear the message today, tomorrow or at any given moment. Jesus says we must preach in season and out of season. You should pray the message would be in season and if it is out of season, may it be a compass guiding individuals from glory to glory as He has promised.
- You have to be able to sum up your message into one or two sentences. What is the focus of your message?
- Title. The title must be short and sweet, not too lengthy nor wordy and if possible, it should hint at what the focus of the message is. If the title is a question, strive for five! Try to keep that question under five words.
- Scripture. First, you can only talk about what you know, therefore, know what you’re talking about. In other words, read, read, read! Secondly, let it sink in. Don't be afraid to walk away from the development and all the reading you are doing. Engage with people and if possible while engaging in conversations bring a point or two of what you’ve got so far. Thirdly, remember that when you are reading you must ask what, why, when, where and how. You may not bring all those details in the message, but you want to be able to understand what you are reading to the best of your abilities.
- Emotion. As you are developing the message, think of a moment, experience or story that is applicable within the focus of this message. You do not need all the details such as names of people involved or what the weather was like that day, but the moral of that story must tie in with the focus if the message. If you can get people emotionally invested in the story, they will be much more receptive to the message.
- Practice. What people see in public is only the sum of what you have done when no one was looking. Practice. In your car, in the shower, in front of the mirrors or as I did when I was 15 years old, practice in front of whatever action figures you’ve got lying around!
That is seven things you should do before taking flight. Here is one to remember once you are airborne.
Be receptive. There are moments when you may deliver a message and the people will respond a praise, acknowledging the word to be true, applicable or revealing. Other times, no one says a word, this is the nightmare of many preachers. Here's the solution for either scenario: BE RECEPTIVE. Look at their body language. How are they sitting? Look into their eyes, are they engaged? Be receptive not only to the audience but also to the Holy Spirit. Remember, the body of Christ is of God. The Holy Spirit is of God. The word is of God. The people are created by God and He, as their (and your) creator knows what they (and you) need.