Have you been invited to give a short devotional message at a church holiday party? Or do you want to take your own Christmas party to the next level with a spiritual emphasis? Christ is the reason for the season, after all.
The responsibility of sharing a devotional message is wonderful but can be intimidating if you are new to it. Let's look at how to best prepare a short message and speak from your heart.
Consider this 4-step process:
- Pick a topic and Bible passage.
- Study and reflect on the passage. Let it affect your own heart first.
- Prepare a message and share personal insight.
Pick a Topic and Bible Passage
The Christmas season gives us a number of topics to emphasize. We can talk about the birth of Jesus, our need for a Savior, what it meant for Jesus to come to earth... You may already have a topic in mind. If not, google "Christmas devotional topics" for ideas.
Once you know what you want to talk about, I highly recommend picking a passage. You could start here to begin with, for example, by choosing to talk about Jesus' birth in a manger, one of the many Messianic prophecies, or the stories of Simeon and Anna in Luke 2.
If you had a topic rather than a story in mind and are unsure which Bible text to choose, head over to openbible.info/topics and type in your search word. 41 passages come up when searching "Jesus' birth", for example.
You should have no shortage of ideas for your devotional.
Study and Reflect on the Passage
Teaching the Word of God - even in the form of a short devotional - is a high calling and should not be taken lightly (2 Timothy 2:15).
Always study a Bible passage before you teach it.
This may go without saying but truth be told, a passage may seem so familiar to you that you feel like you can skip this step. If you have never actually taken a very close look, make sure you do.
I recommend checking out my articles on studying a Bible passage prayerfully and phrase by phrase. Find a number of different Bible study methods explained as well as a quick guide to finding your best-fit commentary. And of course, don't forget context! Always study a Bible verse in context.
For more tips on how to study a Bible passage, sign up for my free ebook, "10 Steps to Approaching the Bible with Confidence." Find out more by clicking the image below.
Study the passage to make sure you grasp its true meaning and message. Then, don't forget to apply that teaching.
Let the Bible transform you before expecting it to transform others.
Always make sure a Bible passage truly reaches your own heart and life before turning it into a message for others. That is also the key to making sure you speak from the heart.
Prepare the Message
Now that you've gained insight into the passage and used it to reflect on your own life, you are ready to turn this learning experience into a mini-lesson for your fellow sisters in Christ.
If you learned an abundance of new things as you studied but still want to keep your devotional short and sweet, pick the most important point that you'd like to share. If you began with a topical devotional idea, this step should be easy.
WORD OF WARNING: Sometimes, when we "work backward" - first choosing a topic, then finding a verse to go along with it - we find, after studying, that the verse or passage actually does not fit with our topic or primarily emphasizes something else. Of course, now you have the choice of changing either your main point or passage. It's worth making this change so we are not cramming our own message into a Bible verse rather than letting the Bible be our teaching basis. That way, we teach good stewardship of the Bible in the process.
Include some of your personal interaction with the text in your message. That way, you show that you humbly took your own words to heart. It also makes the devotional much more personal and allows you to share with easy authenticity.
It's always good to practice your devotional out loud a few times. I highly recommend timing yourself, too, especially if you were given a time limit on your message. Devotionals are most effective in the 2-20 minute range, depending on how concise or wordy you are.
Let your personality shine in your delivery. Are you animated or naturally funny? Are you calm or clever? Whatever your teaching style, be yourself. Your audience will love it.
Are you planning on preparing a holiday devotional for Thanksgiving or Christmas? Tell me about it in the comments below. What topic or passage did you choose? What is your point of emphasis?
I can't wait to hear about all of your fabulous ideas, ladies.
Enjoy the holiday season with your eyes fixed on Jesus,