In a letter written to a friend containing a list of advice for writers (published in the Paris Review in 1975) John Steinbeck included this advice:
“If you are using dialogue — say it aloud as you write it. Only then will it have the sound of speech.”
I would give the same advice to pastors as they prepare each message: Say it out loud as you write it down. This ensures that your words sound natural, as if they’re being spoken in conversation, not being read to an academic audience.
Before your listeners hear your sermon … give yourself a chance to listen to it first, as you write out each phrase.