Here are some guidelines I’m developing for liturgists (leaders of liturgical prayers, responsive readings and church announcements) at Sojourn Community Church of New Albany, Indiana, where Kristen and I serve.
- Understand the text. Pray for the Spirit’s illumination on the passage you’re presenting.
- Practice reading aloud beforehand, just as you’d practice singing or playing worship songs. Don’t wing it. Don’t think, “This is easy. I learned to read when I was a little kid. I’ve got this.”
- Make eye contact at the beginning and end of the reading. No matter how long the reading is, you can quickly memorize the first sentence. Look at your congregation while reciting this sentence, to help focus their attention on your words.
- Emphasize verbs, particularly action verbs (verbs that express action; verbs that a person, animal, thing, or force of nature can do). This will make the reading flow well, and help draw your congregation into the passage.
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