Storr’s General Suggestions for Preaching Without Notes

Richard S. Storrs wrote a book entitled Preaching Without Notes: A Series of Lectures. The book is made up of three lectures on this subject. Storrs presents some general suggestions in the first lecture.

  1. Never begin to preach without notes with any idea of saving yourselves work by it. – In this Storrs emphasizes that the amount of work is not less, although it is different. The preacher works on his or her sermon all day long. The job is to completely master the subject the preacher seeks to present.
  2. Always be careful to keep up the habit of writing, with whatever of skill, elegance, and force, you can command. – Although the preacher does not necessarily write out the sermon, the preacher must write at other times. This would include essays, letters, and other kinds of writing. This writing will help the vocabulary of the preacher.
  3. Be perfectly frank with your people in regard to this matter of your method of preaching. – Here the preacher lets the people know why the method of not using notes is being used. This will help the pepole be ready for possible mistakes that you will have as you try to a new way of preaching.

  4. Discharge your mind of the sermon when once you have preached it. – Here you must find a way to clear your mind of the current sermon so that there will be room for the next sermon. Storrs suggests that a good way to do this is to make your next sermon much different from this sermon.
  5. Never be discouraged by what seems to you, perhaps to others, comparable failure. – Storrs makes a couple of points here. First, no one hits a homerun everytime. Even the best lawyers lose cases, physicians lose patients. You will have sermons were not the best. Another point is that what you think is a failure may not necessarily be thought so by your parishioners. Sometimes we are the hardest critics of our own sermons.
  6. Do no violence to your own nature. – If after you have tried to preach without notes over a period of time and you are convinced that it is not a skill you can cultivate, go back to the use of the pen and reading your manuscript.

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Sherman Haywood Cox II

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.

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