Speaking and Praying in Public: Teaching, preaching, oral prayer
©2011 DiskBooks Electronic Publishing

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The Church Workers Handbook is filled with practical information that you may not have learned in Bible college or seminary. If you haven't already learned this information in the school of hard knocks, you need this series of blogs. This will be information for anyone who serves in any capacity in a church (from senior pastor up to janitor).

G. Edwin Lint, BS, ThB, MA
Bachelor of Science in Bible, Bachelor of Theology, Master of Education Administration and Supervision.

Much of the Drawbridge content is political in general and anti-Obama in particular.

I am still convinced that Obama is America's worst president, bar none. However, I have decided to give Obama a rest on the Sundays of 2012 and concentrate on spiritual and/or educational content, only.

Starting today, I am going to begin a series of blogs based on my book Church Workers Handbook.

Last Sunday, I presented the Table of Contents, only. Starting with today, we'll get into the content of the chapters, beginning with Chapter 1. Speaking and Praying in Public

This book is available at the DiskBooks Electronic Publishing Free Downloads in pdf format.

If you wish to download the entire pdf file of 205 pages, click this link: Church Workers Handbook

The individual chapters are shown in the Table of Contents: [html format]

Today, we will focus on Part One of Chapter 1. Speaking and Praying in Public

These guidelines may seem simplistic at first. However, if you follow them carefully, they can greatly amplify the effectiveness of your teaching, preaching and oral prayer.

Avoid verbal garbage

You may recognize verbal garbage as expressions such as:

..., uh..., um..., like [out of context], you know [out of context], like you know, and oh uh, etc. ad infinitum. There is nothing more annoying than to have a person begin a verbal presentation by holding a microphone close to the lips and emitting one of these pieces of verbal garbage before speaking an actual word.

Granted verbal garbage is used to fill time until something important comes to mind. At least have the presence of mind to keep the mike away from your mouth until you have an actual word to say.

Example: [while using a mike]

Wrong:...uh ... ummm... Welcome to the first session of the series on better public speaking.

Better: [pause, with dead air] Welcome to the first session of the series on better public speaking.

Avoid excessive use of okay? and right?

Example: Now we're going to talk about better public speaking, Okay? First, I'll give you a few guidelines. Okay? And then you'll have a chance to show me what you can do, right?

Avoid excessive use of "go ahead and".

Example: Now we're going to "go ahead and" talk about better public speaking,? First, I'll give you a few guidelines. And then we'll "go ahead and" give you a chance to show me what you can do, okay?

Avoid public use of "you guys"

This term has come into common usage in recent years but it clearly falls under the category of poor usage. If you're working as a server in a restaurant, it may be acceptable to say, "Are you guys ready for dessert now?" This may be acceptable but if I was the manager, I'd train the servers to avoid "You guys" entirely.

Here's an example of breaking both of the last two rules.

In a morning worship service in a large church, one of the associate pastors was leading the congregation in public prayer. At the end of the prayer, he said,

"You guys can go ahead and be seated now."

You don't need a Bible college or seminary degree to know that this is not acceptable behavior for the platform!

If you are an instructor of students in a class of public speaking, allow me to suggest an instructional strategy:

Equip the classroom with an electric buzzer that has a loud, unpleasant sound. An inexpensive battery powered buzzer such as found in some board games is fine. A bellhop counter bell is also usable. Have your students take turns speaking extemporaneously on a topic of their own choosing. As soon as you hear verbal garbage, press the buzzer. Add interest by forming teams and having competition. Surrender the buzzer button to students who are making progress and allow them to serve as monitor. Do not pass students until they can speak three minutes on a topic of your choosing without hearing the buzzer.

In verbal prayer, avoid excessive use of the Lord's name [vain repetition in the language of the King James Version]

Use the Lord's name in the beginning of your prayer, as a form of address. Once you, the Lord, and your audience all know to whom you are speaking, it is not necessary to keep using His Name every couple words. I hear Father God and Lord used to excess in this way.

In verbal prayer, avoid the Elizabethan pronouns for deity: such as thee, thou, thine.

In 1611, when the King James Version of the Bible was published, these pronouns were used in everyday speech, not just when talking to or about God. Today, it is perfectly all right to use modern language pronouns in all church activities, even in prayer. In fact, using Elizabethan pronouns may make you sound pompous.

Evangelical ministers and worship leaders usually pronounce the word Amen as ay-men, instead of ahh-men. The ahh-men pronunciation is usually reserved for use in the traditional, old-line churches, or when Amen appears in the lyrics of a choral response or hymn.

While I'm on the topic of evangelical pronunciations, let me touch on pronouncing Bible names, places, and books of the Bible. The best advice I can give is to listen to educated evangelicals on television or radio and choose a role model. If you pronounce Bible names and places like the following do, you won't be far wrong: Dr. Billy Graham, Franklin Graham, Dr. John Hagee, or the late Dr. D. James Kennedy, ad infinitum.

However, Freda Keet is an educated Israeli anchorperson who speaks frequently in evangelical churches in support of the Nation of Israel. She pronounces the prophet Isaiah as Eye-ZYE-uh instead of Eye-ZAY-uh. I would continue to talk about Isaiah as Eye-ZAY-uh until Dr. Billy Graham and the others named above call him Eye-ZYE-uh. If you and Freda Keet are calling him Eye-ZYE-uh when most other evangelicals call him Eye-ZAY-uh, you run the risk of sounding pompous and pretentious.

Take and Bring

The misuse of these simple verbs has become so commonplace that I hesitate to include anything about them in this chapter.

If you don't agree with this material, chalk it up to the fact that I graduated from high school in 1952!

In general, take is used when you are moving something from where you are to another place.

On the other hand, bring is used when something is being moved from another place toward where you are.

Thank you; you're welcome.

Here again, the passing of time has eroded what was once seen as common and correct usage.

When I was in high school and college, when someone said "thank you," the correct and anticipated response was "you're welcome."

Now, when someone says "thank you," the response more often than not will be another "thank you."

This probably got started with talking heads on TV interview and news shows. Occasionally, the response will be "you're welcome."

Most often, a "thank you" begets another "thank you" and seldom a "you're welcome."

Surname plurals and possessives

My surname is Lint. I'll use it in this discussion of proper use of plurals and possessives.

Examples of correct usage:

[plural] The Lints live in that house.

[Possessive] That is the Lint's house.

The difference between a trusty and a trustee when speaking about the correction system

Trusty and trustee sound a lot alike and the spelling is similar. But there is a world of difference in the meanings of the two words.

A trusty [TRUS-tee] is someone who has been judged to require incarceration by the judicial system. However, while serving the necessary time, good behavior and trustworthiness have elevated this inmate a little above the rest of the convicts. A trusty may even carry keys to interior doors such as those which gain access to locations such as the library, kitchen, outer offices, or laundry.

A trustee [trustee] is a person who has been appointed to a position of responsibility for the belongings of an organization such as a church, or a prison and may serve on the board.

In early January, 2012, a southern state was getting a lot of press because the retiring governor was making a large number of pardons as he approached retirement.

A newsreader on a major news network talked about a trustee when he really meant to be talking about a trusty who was still incarcerated. My guess is that this employee had no idea of the meanings of the two words in question.

Later in that same day, the anchor of a major evening news program made the same mistake!

Part Two of this chapter will be coming your way next Sunday.

G. Edwin Lint, BS, ThB, MA, -- Editor

This blog provides conservative information on political, spiritual, economic, educational and social issues Monday through Saturday.
On Sunday, the content is spiritual and educational only.
Jesus said: What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs. Luke 12:3
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)