Here are 15 ways (some that are perhaps surprising) to improve your communicating the gospel:
- Assume you need to improve. If you genuinely believe you have no room for improvement, ask others until you find someone who is honest enough to help you.
- Consider the last time you intentionally improved your approach. If your last intentional improvement occurred years ago, you may have become stagnant as a communicator.
- Read the Bible and pray every day. Those who communicate without praying regularly are operating in their own power.
- Forsake sin in your life. Sin drains our passion for God and robs us of our power for communicating the gospel.
- Spend more time with your congregation. Your job is to teach the Word, but it’s more than that: it’s to teach people the Word. Know them so well that you can help them apply the Word to their lives.
- Enlist a prayer team. Don’t assume others are praying regularly for you as you preach or teach.
- Study preaching and teaching. Search for online preaching or teaching classes. Even veteran preachers and teachers can usually learn from reviewing these materials.
- Listen to other preachers. If you think you preach or teach too long, listen to someone who is more concise. Absorb from others without trying to become somebody else.
- Invite others to help you prepare. Invite them to critique your exegesis and your proposed outline.
- Simply and clearly answer the “what,” “so what,” and “now what” questions. If you as the preacher or teacher can’t answer these questions, neither will your hearers.
- Practice. Read your manuscript or outline again and again. Teach it in your head . . . or to the wall . . . or your infant – multiple times. Know the material so well that you can connect easily with your audience when teaching it.
- Do immediate reflection. As soon as possible after teaching or preaching, jot down some notes. What worked well? What needs to be changed?
- Listen to and watch your own sermons or lessons. For the sake of communicating the gospel better, become the audience for your own teaching or preaching.
- Ask an unchurched friend or unbeliever to critique your teaching. Find out if he or she understands your points. Determine how often you use Christian jargon.
- Take care of yourself physically. Eat properly. Sleep well. Take your days off. Go on your vacation. An exhausted, out-of-shape preacher or teacher is not a good witness for the transforming power of the gospel.
Chuck Lawless currently serves as Professor of Evangelism and Missions and
Dean of Graduate Studies at Southeastern Seminary. You can connect with Dr.
Lawless on both Twitter and Facebook.