Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Listening To Churchill

By Charles Hodge

Without any argument Winston Churchill was a great, powerful orator. His speeches saved England. He also agreed with Hodge. I feel better when someone agrees! Winston knew preaching was not talent. He was a habitual stutterer with a congenital lisp. He did know the power of oration - greater than that of a kind. He studied, practiced, made himself a speaker. Preaching is not talent.

He also preached preparation. H. M. Goodwyn said, "Preparation is the hardest part." Coach Wilkinson said, "It is not the will to win but the will to prepare." Winston got up his own speeches. To him, preparation was crucial. He said, "The three most difficult things were to climb a ladder leading toward you, to kiss a girl leaning from you, and to make an after-dinner speech." He tirelessly honed his drafts and rehearsed his delivery. He underlined ... added dots and dashes ... to emphasize. Nothing was left to chance. He despised unprepared speakers who "winged it." "He is one of those who before he gets up, does not know what he is going to say; when he is speaking, does not know what he is saying, and when he has sat down doesn't know what he has said." PREPARATION.

Churchill also advised to vary the pose, change the pitch, and never forget the pause. Pretty good stuff!

Then, the clincher. This is for preachers only. The rest of you cease reading. Churchill said, "The most practical delivery is worthless without sincerity or conviction." POW! Preachers are not making speeches - they are stating a message from God. Preachers are not performers trying to make a "10" as in gymnastics. Words made by pollsters, image-shapers, ultimately fail. You can practice - you can prepare - but insincerity will kill it! Preachers are to be men who know the hard-won principles, who live them -

Then preach them! Thank you, Winston!


Keynoter, the weekly bulletin of the Sixth and Izard Church of Christ, Little Rock, AR; June 13, 1996, p. 3. 

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