On Preaching with a Manuscript or Outline
Ryan Hugley gives three reasons why he preaches with a manuscript (I recommend reading the whole post):
1. It helps him stay on topic
2. It helps him transition clearly
3. It helps him control his time
This is something that I’ve thought about a lot recently as I’ve had the opportunity to preach some. I’ve gone from using a bare bones outline to using a full manuscript in the pulpit to using an mildly extended outline in the pulpit. Here’s my thoughts on the different methods:
First, I think it’s important for those who are less experienced to write out a full manuscript (regardless of whether or not it’s taken into the pulpit). There have been a few times that I thought I really was prepared, but realized that I really didn’t have the wording down the way I wanted.
Secondly, I have found that the precision and control achieved through taking a manuscript into the pulpit was not worth the lack of eye contact and ease of expression that came from it. Reading is not speaking, no matter how many ways you look at it, and so after going that route a couple of times, I have decided not to ever do it again.
Thirdly, I have found that transitions and staying on topic are very important, and so the somewhat extended outline method seems to work best for me. Any key points that I want included, I include. If I want to put a quote or some precise wording for an illustration or application, I can do that, but without having to look down at a manuscript regularly.
Fourthly, I’ve found that using my Kindle to preach from is very effective, as turning the page is done without any noticeable movement really.