Feb 6, 2009

Swindoll on Simplicity in Preaching

Chuck Swindoll in an article on preaching entitled "Simplify" notes:

Simplicity. Economy of words mixed with quality of thought held together by subtlety of expression. Practicing a hard-to-define restraint so that some things are left for the listener or reader to conclude on his own. Clear and precise … yet not overdrawn. Charles Jehlinger, a former director of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, used to instruct all apprentice actors with five wise words of advice: "Mean more than you say."

It has been my observation that we preachers say much too much. Instead of stopping with a concise statement of the forest—explicit and clear—we feel compelled to analyze, philosophize, scrutinize, and moralize over each individual tree … leaving the listener weary, unchallenged, confused, and (worst of all!) bored. Zealous to be ultra-accurate, we unload so much trivia the other person loses the thread of thought, not to mention his patience. Bewildered, he wades through the jungle of needless details, having lost his way as well as his interest. Instead of being excited over the challenge to explore things on his own, lured by the anticipation of discovery, he gulps for air in the undertow of our endless waves of verbiage, clichés, and in-house mumbo jumbo.

He also offers the following advice in bullet point form.

  • Make it clear.
  • Keep it simple.
  • Emphasize the essentials.
  • Forget about impressing.
  • Leave some things unsaid.

Read the entire article here.

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