On preaching without a manuscript | The Community
The Anglican Church of Canada home page
Sites at the Anglican Church of CanadaFind a ChurchFrequently Asked QuestionsStaff Listing

On preaching without a manuscript

HOHactualPg_Equip_EmpowerI posted on this topic last year. I was more reticent then, and have made the leap. There is some great advice there. Here’s where I am a year later. 

With the strong encouragement of some parishioners, I have started to preach without a manuscript. It’s scary, and weird, very freeing and, dare I say, fun? I still spend the same time preparing, but it is a different kind of preparation (a lot more preaching to myself in the car!). I am learning, and I learned a good lesson this past Sunday.

I overreact to the reactions of my listeners. As I preached about Peter walking on water and that, maybe, the more faithful action would have been to stay in the boat, I looked out and saw one man staring very intently at me, like he was trying to communicate telepathically and I just wasn’t picking up the signal. Another woman who pays very close attention to our sermons every week was giving me a look I just couldn’t read. Was I going to finally be called a heretic? I got nervous. I started to stumble.

If I had preached from a manuscript, I would have just looked down and plowed on. But without a manuscript, I caught myself preaching on the fly–which is not the same as preaching without a manuscript. I left a good chunk of my sermon behind in my panic. And it was really good, too.

Turns out, the woman loved my sermon and the man was trying to get me to look down to see that my tab was popping out of my collar!

Lesson: Preaching without a manuscript takes focus, focus, focus!

Other noteless preachers, what are some lessons you can share with this newbie?

Dawn Leger

About Dawn Leger

I am a priest in the Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, having served in Stouffville, Ontario. I think preaching is a profound and great privilege granted to us by God and our Church. I love the reading, the writing, the proclaiming, the dissecting and the dialogue. I also love to cook, sing, read and laugh, in no particular order.
This entry was posted in The Preachers' Table and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to "On preaching without a manuscript"

    • Dawn Leger
    • Dawn Leger
  • Kyle Norman
    • Dawn Leger