Preaching without notes is the opposite of “winging it.”
In my case at least, it is the result of a highly personalized (OK, maybe even somewhat OCD) process that’s built on these three premises:
- Internalize, don’t memorize
- If you get lost during delivery, you’re the only one who knows
- Engage with people, not paper (or for iPad preachers, congregation, not screen).
The Process Emerging From The Premises
1. Write The Manuscript. As you well know, preparing a manuscript featuring both biblical accuracy and rhetorical precision has been the subject of the previous six chapters of the book. Yet I find this twist interesting: a manuscript’s main purpose is to disappear. As Dr. Jerry Mercer, my first preaching professor at Asbury, told us, “Write your manuscript out and then leave it at home.” It took a few months to embrace that wisdom, but I have been living it ever since.
I make sure that my manuscripts have narrow margins and double spacing – the better to scribble on during the week.