When I was teaching, I rarely used any prompt other than the text we were studying. Yes, I'd annotate poems, short stories, drama, and I'd stick markers in novels to remind me where important events happened or there was an example of some feature I wanted to highlight, but that was as far as it went. If I was doing something particularly intricate with a Higher class, then I might have some notes scribbled in a jotter to which I'd refer to check I wasn't missing anything, or to ensure that the class weren't confused by poor sequencing on my part, but on the whole I preferred to go where the class and the text would lead me.
Not so with preaching. Until today, when I've had to deliver a sermon I've written out the whole thing verbatim, and read it. Because I'm used to public speaking, I was able to look at the congregation fairly convincingly, but I always felt shackled - and as a result felt the whole thing had been a bit stilted. I did this, obviously, because I didn't feel sufficiently confident in this role - and perhaps also because my audience was always completely silent and apparently attentive. Maybe I always relied on the interaction with the class to make me a good teacher - I certainly valued it and would challenge the passive class to say something, even if it seemed out of place.
Today, however, I managed to move a step closer to my goal. I preached a sermon from a page of bullet points - and I found myself enjoying it. I was able to enlarge on ideas using images which came into my head as I spoke, and I was rewarded by the smiles - and even the nods - of people in the congregation. The theology was simple to the point of being simplistic - but no-one seemed to mind. I shall keep on with the study - but I shall not go back to the written sermon. Cheers!