Richard S. Storrs second lecture in the book entitled Preaching Without Notes: A Series of Lectures describes some specific conditions for success in preaching without notes. These are as follows:

  1. Physical vigor kept at its highest attainable point. – The preacher must be as healthy as possible if one is to preach effectively without notes.
  2. Keep your mind in a state of habitual activity, alertness, and energy. – This will help the preacher grasp subjects easier. Just as you keep your body active, we should keep our mind active. Storrs suggests reading a lot of material. And the kind of reading should be active, studious, and rapid. In addition, one should read widely. Also, Storrs suggests conversations with people. Finally, one should be active in many endevors.
  3. Be careful that the plan of your sermon is simple, natural, progressive, easily mastered, and is thoroughly embedded in your mind. – Here the preacher must master the general plan of the sermon. And this general plan must be simple and easily mastered. Here we are looking at the sermon from a bird’s eye view.
  4. You Should have command of sufficient subordinate trains of thought to aid you in unfolding and impressing the subject. – Here the preacher must have sufficient information in his or her mind in which to draw from, but the preacher should not feel compelled to use any individual piece of information. The key is to have a large amount of information from which to draw.


In Storr’s method, the preacher must memorize and have mastered the basic structure of the sermon. However the illustrations and examples that the preacher uses should not be totally planned out before the sermon is presented. The preacher should have many stories and ideas to illustrate the sermon and then allow the moment to bring whatever of these illustrations that one would present.

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