Want to ruin a perfect good sermon? Try one of these six phrases.
1. “Can you hear me?”
Trust your team. It’s their job to make sure the audience can year you. Focus on teaching, not on what you hear. What you hear from the stage is not the same thing your audience is hearing. Again, trust your team.
2. "I can't see you"
Yes, the lights are hot and bright, but your audience doesn’t care about that. They want to be able to see you. That’s why your in the light…right? Stare into the darkness, glance around the room, and smile. Don’t cover your eyes to see the room, instead ask your team to raise the house lights for a specific portion of your message. Even better, let your team know ahead of time that you’ll want to raise the lights to just after “point #2”.
3. “As we all know”
This is by far the most effective way to alienate your audience. You, no matter who you are, cannot guarantee what your audience knows or doesn’t know. Don’t assume anything. Take the extra 5 seconds to explain. Assume someone has brought a friend who has NO IDEA what your talking about.
4. “It’s hard being a Pastor”
Don’t create a comparison trap. Your audience will undoubtably compare their life, to what they perceive yours to be like…and their’s nothing valuable that comes from that. Instead try to relate to them. Show them that you understand what’s going on in their life by talking about them, not about you. That’s what they care about, not how hard it is to be you.
5. “Please turn off your phone.”
There may have been a time when that was acceptable, but that’s no longer the case. Don’t even mention phones. Many of your audience members are already using them to take notes, to follow along with your reading or even to share great quotes. You might feel like a internet connected device is a distraction for them, but let’s be honest, demanding attention doesn’t work very well. Earn their attention instead. If you must tell them to silence their phones, have someone else do it during a earlier part of the service.
6. “I’ll get you out of here on time"
Highlighting this only suggests that you probably won’t be able to follow through on your promise. It also suggests that they are not their to learn or be challenged. It’s like they are paying their dues instead. With that in mind, do get them out on time? If your audience expects you to be done on the hour, be done on the hour. Anything you say past that "expected finish time" is falling on deaf/distracted ears anyway.
Instead, focus crafting a moving message, teach them a new approach to their problem and give them the hope only Christ can offer.