Well, I get to talk in my very first Shannon Forest Christian School Chapel tomorrow.
I have always enjoyed talking in a "preaching" type of situation. My first experience preaching was at Edgewood Baptist Church in Danville, IL. I can still remember what I preached about. I can also remember which people dozed through my main points, and which people remained focused to the end.
In fact, my attention on the audience has always been one of my weaknesses. I really, really want the people that I am talking to, to be interested in what I am saying, and if they aren't, I either want to stop talking, or do something drastic to wake them up. I feed off of the audience. I call it a weakness because it shouldn't be my primary focus, but sometimes I think that it is a strength.
I have listened to too many preachers that were so boring, that I could hardly take it. And for the longest time, I have felt completely guilty for my own lack of attention. But is this right?
The listeners response to the word should be attentiveness. Nobody is going to argue that point. But some people try to ignore this whole topic by focusing solely on the listener, and never on the presentation itself.
I think that showing an enthusiasm for your topic is of not only beneficial, but in today's society, pracitcally essential. I think that this is especially true when one is presenting the Word to a group of teenagers. Even though there are some people who would frown on this thought, I believe that today's youth have begun to believe that being a real Christian is for fuddy-duddies. (And yes, I know that typing fuddy-duddy actually makes me a fuddy-duddy...)
A little humor can grab the attention. And a little sarcasm can be a great tool in the teaching of truth, especially when you are combatting so many wrong ideas about truth. For some good examples, read a little C.S. Lewis, and admire his subtle truth revealing skills.
Now, some go to the opposite extreme and focus entirely on trying to grab the attention of the audience. Then in the process, the Word is left in the dust. Solid Biblical truth has become forfeit to a good laugh and some quick wit.
With all of this said, I know that tomorrow I will face a tough crowd. Many of the faces that will be staring at me will be closed to the Word. And my hope is that God will use the talents that He has given me to reveal truth, even if I look a little ridiculous in the process.