Manuscript or Outline?

Manuscript or Outline? How Should you Preach?

Had a good question come in…Keep the questions coming:

Anyway, here ya go…
> Your messages are always so timely. I have a question about preaching
> by manuscript. I spend hours & hours on a sermon before presentation bcuz
> I believe I am a teacher more than a preacher. So is it okay to deliver a
> Word methodically that will be remembered in months & years to come by
> manuscript rather than not use a manuscript? I deliver word for word that
> is written but its not in a monotone, its with emotion & holy ghost
> boldness.

And my answer:
So if I understand your question…Should I deliver a powerful message with
a manuscript or deliver a sub-par message without notes…

Go for the power…always do you…that is a an important component of the
Black Preaching Tradition, the freedom to do what you do…

Now let’s unpack and go a little deeper…

Let me say this, however….most folks don’t realize that they can preach
without notes, especially when they realize that there is more than one
way to do it.

Let me also say that I am a little concerned with the issue of volume of
material that you might deliver…be careful not to preach too much in one

In addition, I think there might be a misunderstanding about preaching without notes.
They spend a lot of time putting their messages together as well. In fact, some spend just as much time in sermon prep as those who preach from a manuscript.

Normally, I say that the difference between a sermon without notes and a
sermon with notes has to do with “word precision”…how important is word
choice and precision to your preaching…

Both preachers can have boldness and both preachers can spend a lot of time in preparation, but do you think “precision” is more important than “passion” then you will more than likely follow the manuscript route. If you think that “passion” is more important than “precision” then you will more than likely go down the preaching without notes route.

often..not always…but often when someone is fearful of not being able to
remember everything they need to preach it is because they are preaching
too much concepts and ideas and points in that one sermon and the people may not
remember all of that anyway….

But, after having said all that…Like David…fight in your
armor and not Saul’s armor…If you can’t preach without notes or you can’t preach with
a manuscript…thendon’t…

By the way, go head on over to my YouTube video where I talk about the
methodologies of preaching without notes. Don’t get me wrong, I ain’t
trying to change you…you and God know your game better than anybody
else…But just check it out and let me know what you think…You might be
able to implement pieces here and there…



Sherman Haywood Cox II is the director of Soul Preaching. He holds the M.Div with an emphasis in Homiletics and a M.S. in Computer Science.

Posted in 11Instruction, blog
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