I am a firm believer in manuscripting a message. Understand, I do not have it memorized as I speak. I could not quote the manuscript if my life depended on it. But I have it so well mastered that I can give the message without even looking at my manuscript. I find this has three advantages.
First, I can make my sermons easier to follow. I look at the flow of my transitions, how I enter and exit my illustrations, the wording of my explanations, and every detail of the message. This helps me ensure everyone in my audience can follow me without difficulty.
Second, by manuscripting, I am able to keep my messages to 30 minutes or less. If my word count goes over 4500 words, based on my speaking speed, I know my message would exceed 30 minutes. So, I go back and look at what I can remove.
Many times, as Dr. Haddon Robinson once said, “The art of preaching isn’t hinged upon knowing what to put into your message, but rather what to take out.”
Third, if I take the time to manuscript and read it over at least 10 times, I have no need to refer to notes or an outline—they simply become unnecessary because I have mastered (not memorized) the material.
Does manuscripting your message take time? Most definitely. But I assure you it is worth every moment it takes.