Do You Leave Room in Your Preaching?

Kirk Byron Jones, in The Jazz of Preaching writes: “As there is no music without rests, there is no preaching without pauses.” Often preachers feel the need to fill in every space with words. I am guilty of this error at times. However, the preacher must begin to recognize that pauses are just as much a part of the preaching moment as the words used. Is there a place for the congregation to respond in your preaching? Call and Response requires that space be left for the congregation to respond to the message as preached. If you do not leave that space the preacher will not know what needs more illumination and what needs to be “chewed on” by the congregation.

In addition, preaching without pauses does not leave room for the Spirit in the preached moment. When we pause we open up the door for the Spirit to guide in the preaching moment. If you are preaching on a particular subject, the Spirit will will give you hints on what needs to be preached. Sometimes we will have something that we have cast aside in our preparation that the Spirit will tell us to preach in the sermon. The Spirit will direct you.

I would encourage you as preachers to leave space for the people and the Spirit to guide and change the sermon presentation “In The Preaching Moment” by not attempting to fill every minute with words, but to put space in the sermon that will be filled by the other players in the preaching moment.



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 blog, Preaching
2 comments on “Do You Leave Room in Your Preaching?
  1. Vernetia Miller says:

    Master biblical storyteller Pam Faro teaches workshops on the power of the pause in storytelling, and I believe that her techniques would be helpful for preaching also. Whenever I find my notes I will come back and share them.

  2. Roger B. Abuloc says:

    Yes, making some space in the sermon for the Holy Spirit or people to fill it in is almost true to some preachers. Because there may be some gaps in the message that the reserve space for their guidance would make our message get good response and understanding from the congregation.

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Revised Common Lectionary
Proper 14 (February 26, 2017)
  • OT: Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28
  • Psalm: Psalm 105: 1-6, 16-22, 45b
  • Epistle: Romans 10:5-15
  • Gospel: Matthew 14:22-33
Af Am Heritage Lectionary
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