When preparing a christian talk the two main things you should be focussed on are being faithful and clear. We are faithful to God's word by accurately explaining the passage we've been given. We can be clear by making the passage (and it's application) understandable to those we are speaking to.
The following ten steps will help you to fully prepare your talk;
1. Understand the passage
The first thing you need to do is understand the passage you will be speaking on. Read it through several times. Maybe even read the whole chapter or book that it is taken from so that you can fully understand the context. As you read as yourself questions about the text and jot down any thought that you might have.
2. Write a theme sentence
It can be really helpful to try and summarise your passage in a theme sentence. This is a short sentence that pretty well sums up the main point of the passage.
3. Think about applications
Once you understand the passage you need to think about how it can be applied in the lives of those you will be speaking to. Do to this you will need to know who you are going to be speaking to. A talk given to a group of youth will have different applications to the same talk given in church to an older and more mature congregation. Try to put this into a sentence also. This is your aim sentence.
4. Consult some aids
Bible commentaries, study bibles and listening to other talks on your passage can be really helpful. However, this is point number four. You should do your own work first and use this as a chance to supplement your own ideas. Try not to make your talk sound like an audio bible commentary!
5. Structure your talk
Once you know your theme and aim sentence you can start thinking about how you would like to structure your talk. Often people try to pick our two or three main points or headings (if appropriate). This about your introduction. Is there a story you can tell to set the scene or a question you can ask to get the audience engaged?
6. Write your talk
You can now start writing. Try to go back to the passage several times to show people that what you are saying is from the bible. Think careful about the words that you are using. These must be appropriate to the type of audience you are speaking to. Remember you are writing a talk and not an academic essay!
7. Introduction and conclusion
These are the key parts of your talk. It may be a good idea to write them last after writing the main body. Your introduction should give people a reason to listen to your talk and you conclusion should drive home the main point or points and leave the audience with something to think about or apply.
8. Be prepared to edit
A good talk should have lots of red pen all over it. Once you have written your first draft go over it, read it out and change as much as you see fit. It is important to cut out unnecessary sections and focus on the few key points that you want to make.
9. Think about your delivery
Once you have finished your talk you can think about your delivery. It is a good idea to read through your talk several times. It can help to do this in front on a mirror as if you were really giving it. Think about how you want to hold your notes, how to keep eye contact with your audience, when to pause, when to speed up or slow down your voice. The most important point is to be yourself and not to try and copy anyone elses style.
10. Pray, at all stages!
Really this should have been point number one, and two and three... During every stage of writing and preparing your talk you need to pray that God would be helping you to understand the passage, guiding you as you write and helping you to be confident as you deliver.
Hopefully you are now ready to go away to start preparing your talk. I wish you the best of luck. Trust in God to give you the knowledge and confidence you need to plan and deliver it well and remember that you are doing this to serve and give glory to Him and not yourself.