Speaking Versus Preaching

Today I spoke at an all-staff meeting for one of the companies for which I chaplain.  I was asked to speak on one of their core values (they would call it a family value), “open and honest communication”. So I presented on effectively communicating using Aristotle’s model of communication. I personally tend to think that people generally better remember and implement presentations that have humor in them so I wrote out my presentation in a manner that would try to get people laughing as we talked together about effective and unprofitable communication. Thus I used big printed heads of Aristotle and Justin Bieber to walk through the model (Sender, Medium, Receiver).

I believe the presentation went well for two reasons. First, because I communicated in the manner I had hoped to communicate all the points I was hoping to address. Second, because a large number of the team members told me how much they enjoyed my lecture. I am thankful for the second reason but I was also surprised by how I was caught off guard by  being told how much someone enjoyed the presentation.

I am used to preaching most weeks but people respond to a sermon different than to other presentations. I don’t usually have someone tell me that they “enjoyed” a sermon. They might say how grateful they were for a message, or how it specifically related to their life, or they might add a point to the message that relates in another manner. If you are at a traditional church it wouldn’t be surprising to have a lot of people tell you that it “was a good sermon pastor” but they aren’t going to say they enjoyed it. That’s just not what you usually say about a message. So it threw me off.

I believe I generally preach in a manner that is at least not completely snooze worthy for most of the people listening. Still, when I preach people usually express whether or not the message was meaningful for them not just that they enjoyed the message. Meaning, not enjoyment, is what I am used to hearing about.

Which is why hearing people say that “enjoyed” the presentation threw me off at first. I was grateful that they enjoyed the message, after all who wants to be told “I really didn’t enjoy your presentation.” Still I had a small knew jerk reaction every time they said the phrase to me. Seriously, I wanted to correct them and say “no what matters was this meaningful for your life.” That was my own insecurities and thankfully my mom raised me to be polite. So I simply said “Thank you, I appreciate that you enjoyed it.”

SIDE NOTE – If you are wondering what’s up with the lady’s face on the left of the photo I blurred it to protect the innocent.

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