Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Preaching as performance

"The second misconception is that performance [in preaching] is mere playacting. It's easy to assume that theatrics is about manipulating people for mere entertainment, that is, entertainment for entertainment's sake. When this is done with preaching, the delivery is embellished and actually impedes the communication of the message. Bad performances in the pulpit are as obvious as bad acting on the stage or screen. The only time we usually notice actors acting is when their craft is poor. It's the same with preaching. When it's done masterfully, the preacher almost disappears.

Good preaching comes alive and speaks to the heart precisely because it is well presented, with proper gesture, vocal technique, and bodily presence. People in the performing arts call this "stage presence." We might call it liturgical presence, or pulpit presence. All effective communicators realize that they must master numerous techniques in order to impact their audience."

From Preaching is Performance Art, by Clayton Schmit

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