Every so often, I ask some of our laypeople to read Scripture, either during the first portion, or to read the sermon Scripture right before I enter the pulpit. Below is the template I send out to them.
Thank you so much for your willingness to read the sermon Scripture that will lead into the preaching of the Word. Seeing laymen reading Scripture communicates that the Bible is not just for the professionals but is God communicating to everyone His saving work and, more pointed, the Savior!
- Practice reading your assigned passage out loud in front of a mirror five times in the previous week.
- Read with genuine interest. This is the most compelling Book in all the world, so let’s not read in a monotone or disengaged fashion, but read it as God’s Word–with thankfulness and urgency.
- Isolate and practice reading the ‘tongue twisters.’ The practice will bring to light word order that you may find tough to read at first and help you navigate through those tough spots.
- Read with the appropriate emotion in relation to the text. For example, read through Matthew 25:31-46. The first half is about the ‘sheep’ and the reward of heaven, the second half is about the ‘goats’ and the judgment of hell. Read the first part with joy over the hope we have in Jesus, but read the second part with a sadness over the judgment that those who rejected Jesus face.
- Read from the ESV. This provides consistency between reader and preacher. Plus, this is the version of our pew Bibles. We want as few obstacles as possible when our people are reading Scripture.
During the Service
- During the Offertory/Special Music, make your way up to the front pew and sit next to me (in case there are any changes, which I an 99.9% sure there won’t be, but still…).
- When the Offertory/Special Music conclude and the choir is being dismissed, make your way to the pulpit.
- Here are some things you need to say:
- This morning’s sermon will be from ____________________.
- If you’re using a Pew Bible, you can find the passage on p. ______.
- Let’s stand as we read God’s holy and perfect Word together.
- [After you finish reading, say]: This is God’s Word (or some variation).
- Please be seated.
What practice do you use in Scripture reading in your worship gathering?