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.