7 Reasons to Practice Your Sermon Verbally  by Nicholas McDonald


Before about a year ago, I used to practice my sermons verbally about half the time. For whatever reason, “practicing” a sermon seemed somehow less spiritual than going with the flow on Sunday morning.

But now, I do it every week.

Why? Because I’ve simply found that it’s an act of love toward those who will listen on Sunday morning. Here’s why:

1. It helps clarify your main point. Finding a main point is the most crucial, and most difficult task for me. When I practice out loud, I often find the main point floats out as I speak.

2. It shaves wasted time. The first time I try my sermon out loud, It’s usually 10 minutes longer than the second time. Practicing helps me to make things fluid.

3. It helps make connections clearer. Sometimes outlines can be deceitful. They look organized on paper – but the people listening don’t see the outline. Speaking my sermon helps me to see where things need more clarity.

4. It gives you a sense of your sermon’s drama. There are some things that you can intuitively sense by listening. I can’t tell you whether a sermon is captivating when it’s on paper. But after speaking it, I often shift things around because it didn’t “feel” right.

5. It shapes the way you say what you say. Some things read better on paper than they sound in reality. Sometimes, as I’m speaking, I’ll use a phrase that I realizes captures a point I’m making clearly and memorably.

6. It gets you away from notes. Speaking implants the sermon in my head, as does manuscripting. I do both, to ensure I don’t rely too heavily on notes Sunday morning.

7. It helps me know what to cut. The first time I practice, I shave time through fluidity. The second time, I realize whole segments don’t fit, and I shave them off. They’re usually the ones I’m bored by, or distracted by, as I hear myself speak.

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