an 8 year old girl and a boy who was either older or just taller, was having an animated discussion in the small coffee shop i was at. they were a couple of tables (less than 10 feet) away from me, and i could see and hear them clearly. i had the urge to take a video of them with my smartphone, but decided not to, for certain reasons — caution, being one of them; (although i knew both the girl’s parents and grandparents, who were also there with her.)
but there were lessons i gleaned from the way the girl argued with the boy, that (i thought) may be applied to preachers and preaching.
first, extemporaneous preaching is very effective; and by extemporaneous preaching i only mean that when you preach, it is not the paper on the pulpit you look at, to know what you should be saying; but the people you are speaking to, to persuade them about what is burning in your heart.
a quick second is: maintain eye contact with the people you are preaching to. i have seen preachers keep constant or longer eye contact with their notes — one preacher had his eyes almost glued to his full manuscript the whole time he preached! some preachers keep looking on the ceiling above; others, to whatever might be lurking out the windows!
a quick third: mastery of your subject is absolutely necessary. sermon notes (but especially, full manuscripts) often act as crutches for listless preachers who have no mastery of their sermons — it disables them from speaking to people eyeball to eyeball and from the heart.
all these three i gleaned just because the whole time the girl was talking, she never took her eyes away from the boy!
fourthly, let your body talk. how emphatic was the girl talking to the boy? she swung her elbows, waved her hands, leaned forward — and glared at the boy with her eyeballs! preachers should talk with their bodies as well as preach with their voices! and the girl’s gesticulations were not studied theatrics — they flowed naturally (beautifully) along with her argument.
finally, appeal to Scriptures. yes, quote renowned authors. but make your final appeal always be to Scriptures. for the girl, of course, her Scriptures was, ‘but my mom said…’ or, ‘no, no, no, my mom said…’ and the boy just haplessly resigns. only the Scriptures have the power (by the Spirit) to silence your hearers’ contrary voices. always appeal to Scriptures to establish your argument.
this girl (to me) is big deal!