The Manuscript Maze (part one)February 2, 2007
What sort of notes, if any, should you take into the pulpit? Getting this right has the potential to benefit your preaching and your congregation. Getting it wrong can lead to disastrous results.
Over the next four Fridays, I’d like to ponder this question some more: what kind manuscript (if at all) should we use in our preaching? It seems to me that there are four basic options:
1) Full manuscript – Writing out the sermon completely and taking it with us into the pulpit. This word for word option is still popular among many preachers.
2) Reduced manuscript – This is more than a bare bones outline, but not as extensive as a full manuscript.With this approach, preachers may write out a full manuscript before reducing it to the key sentances and quotes which they will take into the pulpit. Others who take this line never write a full manuscript but only this draft form. Possibly the most popular choice?
3) Basic outline manuscript – This is the basic outline of the sermon. It will at least include the main points and possibly also brief notes on subpoints, illustrations and application. This outline probably fits onto one page.
4) No manuscript – Exemporaneous. It was good enough for Spurgeon, who left his script behind in the study to preach only from his open bible. The reality, however, is that such preaching usually still follows an outline, but this is located in the preachers head not on a sheet of paper!
Over the next few weeks, we’ll look at the strengths and weakness of each form. But out of interest, which do you use?