Never having been to this church, I was thoroughly impressed with Pastor Bob’s sermon. It was obvious he prepared extensively for his performance and it made his message that much more memorable. He explained to us that he was visiting from Trenton, NJ so it was nice to have a different perspective, a fresh take on things. Although you go to church knowing you will be preached to about Jesus and God, it is not just that. There are life lessons to be learned, they can be applied to everyday life, and he did a good job at teaching us something meaningful through his speech, which is not easy to do.
He used a thesis, posing a question if we truly know what it means to be baptized and if we are truly living our lives as disciples of Jesus Christ. He began by telling a story about the bible and Jesus’ baptism, then explained his own experience in baptizing and finally transitioned back to the message, relating everything to the bible. This made the sermon extremely easy to follow, always tying things together, and restating his thesis from the start of the speech to the conclusion of it. He ended things on a light note with a joke, which kept the message serious, but at the same time kept your attention with a pinch of humor.
He used eye contact, switching focus on one side to the other between points because the church is split into two sides. The layout of this church would be very challenging for me because the podium is facing a wall and there are people on the left and right side of it. Pastor Bob, however, utilized his space by not using the podium at all and slightly moving from the left to the right of the stage throughout the sermon. In addition, his gestures made him seem very sure of himself, moving his arms and hands in sync to his words. Not to mention his voice was very impressive, it would lower when saying something very serious at times but then to emphasize a certain sentence or point he would get loud. When speaking on a lighter subject or telling his jokes he spoke in an uplifting manner and had a constant smile on his face which in turn put a smile on everybody else’s faces.
The observable reaction of the audience was that everyone was listening very attentively. The audience either smiled or laughed when he gave a joke. Moreover, most apparent, was that everyone was nodding in agreement during most of the sermon, just showing him respect.
The climate was a little unsure at first because he was new and began with a standard story. As he continued, the standard story transitioned into a very good point and the climate changed to everyone agreeing and accepting his message with open arms.
Some might have thought the sermon was a little drawn out; church did get out ten minutes later than usual. It is possible that people who had somewhere to go either stopped listening at 7:00 or left, those people would not have gotten the whole intended message. He could have improved the speech by cutting those extra ten minutes out and by doing so keeping everyone happy. In addition, he could have started directly with his thesis and then gone into the story instead of beginning with the story, which probably did not interest everyone right away.
I learned that practice truly does make perfect, Pastor Bob has years and years of experience, and it showed in his execution of getting his strong message across. I realized that the space you give your speech in can have unexpected obstacles, improvising with the space given and making sure everyone feels included is crucial. Keeping everyone interested is probably most vital and this speech taught me that subtle jokes could increase interest, while also reinforcing the underlying message. I also realized that you do not have to be someone that your audience already knows and likes in order for them to be open to what you are saying. It, in turn, boosted my confidence in myself as a speaker because Pastor Bob was virtually unknown to the entire audience. In future speeches of mine I will try to display more confidence, because I saw such a strong example I know I can do better. Being passionate when speaking can increase interest in your audience as well and in future speeches I will do my best to choose a topic I can put my heart into, not just see it as an assignment. Preparation is imperative and it is something I have slacked on in the past, it really improves fluency and credibility because you have less hang-ups and just sound more informed. So in future speeches I will rehearse and practice as much as I can before giving them. This sermon definitely taught me a lot about public speaking and I would most likely think back and refer to it whenever I write a speech in the future.