One of my daughters is now old enough to be a server and was scheduled to serve last Saturday evening. When we arrived, I realized my church had guest priest saying the Saturday night Mass. Whenever we have a guest priest at my church, I always hope for a wonderful homily from someone I’ve never met. This week I was not disappointed. I wish I had the priest’s name; all I know is he is affiliated with Marmion Academy and Abbey, a monastery of the Benedictine monks.
This young, enthusiastic priest did a number of speech delivery skills correctly during his homily, such as starting in a way that was intriguing, giving the congregation only two important points to remember, and using examples from every day life in addition to quoting the Scripture readings from the Mass. However, in this brief post, I want to emphasize one skill he used very well: repetition.
Repetition can be used effectively for a number of reasons including:
- To slow your sermon down so your congregation has a moment to catch up.
- To emphasize a particular point.
- To make it easier to remember a lesson.
One of the two points the priest wanted the congregation to remember was one simple type of prayer. He told a story of a Sister who’s only “prayer” involved not on single word, but simply “being” in the presence of our Lord. To emphasize his point, he repeated three times, slowly, and methodically toward the end of his sermon, “It’s that simple. It’s that simple. It’s that simple.”
Using repetition in your sermon is simple, too. Choose a single word or very short phrase and repeat it, two, three or more times. You can repeat it once at one point, or continue to repeat the phrase throughout your sermon, referring back to it. Both are useful strategies and both will help your congregation remember the important lesson you want them to incorporate into their lives. This week I challenge you to use some form of repetition in your sermon and then accept the praise from grateful members as they leave church.