sermon went yesterday. The point, I think, was good, but the content needed some serious pruning in the middle.
I think my big mistake was that, until the service itself, what I was saying was only on paper. It looked pretty good on paper. But I hadn't done what I usually do which is talk it through with another preacher friend.
When I talk it through, I don't read a manuscript; I talk about what it is I'm trying to convey. Just having that in my head and having allowed it to come out into the air helps me a lot.
Only rarely do I practice doing the whole sermon out loud. Mostly it's just pieces, chunks of narrative that I try out, or summary statements that take me through the narrative flow. But I find it's embarrassing to do that, even though I know it makes my preaching better. It's something I have to make myself do. I'll mutter to myself in the car, perhaps, or while I'm watering the plants.
But I didn't do that last week and it showed--at least to me. I had a good place to land at the end, thank goodness, but in the middle I wandered around for what seemed like 40 days and 40 nights. I've pared it back to the gist for blogging purposes, but definitely not a grand performance.