Are Your Sermons Actually Engaging? Here's How To Check.
Jim Sweeney • November 23, 2015
Public speaking is hard.
Or, at least it is for most people. But if you’re a pastor, you know how to command a room and have the uncommon knack for speaking in front of an audience and connecting with them.
What happens when live video streaming enters the mix?
READ A LIVE AUDIENCE
There are several things you can do to make sure that your sermon leaves the same lasting impression on your community members who are watching online as it does on those who are there in person.
When you’re addressing a group of people seated in front of you, it’s easy to gauge how you’re doing. Voluntarily and involuntarily, audiences send signals indicating their level of interest and engagement.
Are they leaning forward, eyes following you, perhaps nodding along? That’s great - they’re interested in the message and you’re doing a great job delivering it.
If they’re looking around the room, arms crossed, constantly checking the time or, worse, their phones, you’ve lost them. For whatever reason, they’re not engaged. As a skilled speaker, you can read a room and adjust your delivery to recapture the audience’s attention.
ADAPT FOR YOUR ONLINE VIEWERS
But this changes with an online audience. You can’t see them, can’t judge their engagement. Even the most inconsiderate person is unlikely to get up in the middle of services and wander around or pick up a magazine, but that could very well be happening with the audience at home. You can’t tell.
You can ask people who watch the live streams for an honest assessment of how watchable the services are, but many will be unwilling to criticize.
The best thing you can do is to judge for yourself.
WATCH YOURSELF DELIVER A SERMON
BoxCast allows live streams to be stored and accessed later. Pick a handful of services to watch at home, and then put yourself in the place of your community members as much as possible. Sit on the couch, watch on a laptop or tablet, surrounded by the everyday distractions of home.
It can be uncomfortable to watch ourselves on screen, let alone critique ourselves, but force yourself to do it. Would you watch the live stream? Does your attention wander? Are there parts that lag? Is it easy to follow? Count your “um”s - how many do you say? If possible, enlist the help of family and friends you can trust to be honest with you.
Watch enough of these recordings to fully grasp your strengths and areas for improvement, and then make the appropriate changes. Give yourself some time and then check the latest archived streams to evaluate your progress and see if you’re getting better.
Every speaker always has the ability to improve. Each week, people look to you as a source of inspiration, so taking the time to evaluate yourself will ensure that your ministry is as memorable and powerful as possible.