This booklet, “Ten Specific Steps You Can Take to Make Your Sermons and Preaching Better!”, will be offered as a pdf download in a short while. We’ve looked at the following steps already: Step One was entitled “Do the Work!” Step Two was entitled “Develop a Clear Outline!” Step Three was entitled “Expository Versus Topical Messages!” Step Four was entitled “Begin with a Great Introduction!” Step Five was entitled “Illustrate. Illustrate. Illustrate!” Step Six was entitled “Vocal Variety!” Step Seven was entitled: “Use Technology!” Here is Step Eight:
STEP EIGHT: GESTURES!
Gestures are extremely important. And we want our movement in the pulpit or behind the lectern to be purposeful, but not distracting.
Distracting gestures include jiggling the change in your pocket, touching your hair, overusing your hands to express every single point you are making, etc.
Purposeful gestures enhance the delivery of your words. Gestures may be whole body (in which you move out from behind your podium to illustrate a point) or partial body (you might spread your arms to illustrate the greatness of God’s love, for example).
If you are using your hands and arms to illustrate the differences between the godly man and the ungodly man in Psalm 1, make sure you keep your sides straight! If you begin describing the godly man with your right hand and the ungodly man with your left hand, don’t switch them. Keep the visuals consistent.
The combination of a strong voice and appropriate gestures, at the very least, communicates the preacher’s enthusiastic commitment to the point that he is making. I’m reminded of the story of a person being surprised at hearing that the skeptic David Hume was going to go listen to the preacher George Whitefield. The friend said, “Surely you don’t believe what Whitefield is preaching, do you?” David Hume answered, “No, but Whitefield does.”