Parting at the Pulpit

Adios. See you later. Goodbye folks. I’m outta here!

However you choose to say it, your farewell talk is the last talk you’ll be giving in your ward for quite some time. So let’s leave on a good note and write a talk that will strengthen, empower and bless all who attend Sacrament Meeting that day.

The Process of Your Address

What’s the purpose of your talk?

  • A member of the bishopric will either give you a topic to speak on or ask you to select one yourself. Typically you’ll have 10-20 minutes to share a message about this specific subject.

Think First.

  • Ponder on the goal of your talk. Ask questions like these to help you focus:

    • How do I want people to feel?
    • How does it relate to my audience?
    • What is the specific message of this topic?
    • How can I involve missionary work in my talk?
    • How does it relate to missionary work?

Study & Outline

  • Main Ideas. Create an outline beginning with a bulleted list of 3-5 main ideas that relate to your topic.

  • After you’ve written down these points, add more content to each main idea. Here is a list of references below to help you solidify your message for each point.

    • Pray for inspiration.
    • Write down scriptures that relate to each point.
    • Find talks and references from prophets and other general authorities that can be used to support each topic.
    • Record a personal experience that relates to the topic.
    • Answer these questions,
    • “How does this main point relate to missionary work?”
    • “How will this point benefit me as a missionary?”

This outline will help you articulate your message. You won’t necessarily need to express all the information you’ve written down, but it will be a guideline for you, and a resource of additional information to share if there is extra time to fill.

  • The more you prepare, the more confident you’ll feel about the message Heavenly Father wants you to share. He counsels in the Doctrine and Covenants, “Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word…” (Doctrine and Covenants 11:21). It is important to Him that we study and learn all that we can before sharing this gospel principle.

Following the Spirit

  • These main points are essential to your farewell and emphasize your message, but like all missionary messages, the Spirit is the greatest teacher. Seek to have the Spirit with you as you are studying and preparing. If you prepare in this manner and ponder on these things, the Spirit will direct you in your farewell address. You may change a few “main points” last minute, or your outline may be the exact message your ward needs to hear. As you speak with this confidence in the Savior, all will feel the Spirit and be edified. In Doctrine and Covenants 84:18 it says, “Neither take ye thought beforehand what ye shall say; but treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man.” As you diligently prepare with the Spirit, your message will align with His message.

Testimony

  • Your testimony is the most important element of your talk. Your belief in the Gospel and in the service you’re about to commence shows confidence and loyalty to the Savior. Express your testimony. Share your feelings of your excitement to become a missionary, and your desire to serve the Lord. If time is running out, cut your talk down to bear your testimony.

Be Careful.  

There are a few suggestions I would remember when speaking.

  • Keep it simple.
    • Don’t use acronyms. LDS culture uses acronyms often. If you invite friends and family who are not members of the church, they will have a hard time understanding or feeling the spirit if they are focused on decoding all of the acronyms you mention throughout your talk.
    • Make it relatable to someone who has never attended our church.
  • Grateful
    • I’m sure there have been a lot of people you’d like to publicly thank. It is wise to thank these friends, teachers, mentors, etc. in general groups. There is a chance you could forget someone important and incredibly influential if you specifically thank individuals. You don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.
    • Also, the pulpit usually isn’t the place to specifically thank individuals. Remember your farewell talk is to share your message and edify your ward family and visitors.
  • Time
    • Don’t speak to the allotted time you’ve been given, but the time that you have left.
    • Many times you’ll be asked to prepare a talk that is around 15-20 minutes. If you stand up to find yourself with 10 minutes remaining, condense your talk to the adjusted time frame. If that means you only have time to share your testimony, that’s okay. If you omit a “main point” or two, that’s fine as well.

You will have at least 10 minutes of undivided attention to be a witness of the Savior. Take the needed time to prepare. Invite nonmember friends and family members to participate in this Sacrament Meeting. It will be a great opportunity for them to feel of your Missionary Spirit. Your parting message and testimony will be a strength and inspiration to many. Study out your topic, write with confidence and follow the Spirit.

For more thoughts, visit:
How to Give a Powerful Farewell Talk
It’s Not Goodbye, It’s See You Later