Skip to main content

Communicating for a Change, pt. 1

I just finished Andy Stanley's Communicating for a Change. As an experiment, I scrapped my typical preparation routine and used the one he proposes this past weekend at Frederick Pike

The book is full of great observations about how to engage with our listeners. I really enjoyed the book and know it will be a part of my preaching philosophy and practice for a long time to come. 

Some highlights:

Can you, in a few short words, eliminate all the other possible places my mind can wander over the next thirty minutes? When I get to where you want to take me, will I know I’ve been there? It’s what I call a one point message.

If you give people too much to remember, they won’t remember anything. 

If we give people three or four things to apply to their lives each week, they’ll quit before they even begin. 

Write down all your thoughts. Just don’t use them all in one message.

We don't have anything meaningful to say if God doesn't give it to us. 

Way too many preachers hide behind the excuse that it's up to the Holy Spirit to apply the message to the heart of the hearer and then not give the Holy Spirit anything to work with. 

I talk about me and the challenges we face. Then I look at what God has said about it. I offer personal application so that you can change your life and then how we can all celebrate that change together.

Internalize a message until it's a part of you and you own it. How can you expect your listener to care enough to remember what you're saying if you can't remember?

It's not enough to say, "I have the truth of God's Word up here and it's your job to listen." That might have worked years ago, but not today. No way. Today you have to show people how the truth impacts their lives. Raise an awareness of a past, present or future need in their lives that makes them way to listen to you and follow you to an answer.

We shouldn't water down the message. I'm saying that we take the life-changing message and make very sure we apply it to lives that are ready to be changed. It's just that we have to remind them that they want to change.

We create tension.

Comedians & preachers. We both make our living trying to convince a group of people that they're glad they came out to hear us. (Stakes are much higher for preachers)

Comments

Most Read

Why Some Experienced Clergy (and Lay People) Have a Hard Time When Younger Clergy Take Renewal Leave

This is a guest post from my very own dad! He's a United Methodist pastor serving in Bend, Oregon. I enjoy chatting church leadership with my dad and it's fascinating to see how our generational differences bring different perspectives to our calling as pastor. We need each generation to walk with each other as we figure it out in this new world. We've been reflecting lately as I finished up a renewal leave and he prepares to retire this June. 
By David Beckett
I fall into the category of experienced clergy which is a polite way of saying I am old. I’ve been pastoring for nearly 40 years. When I was a young pastor my role models were mostly white males who presented an image of success that equated with dedication, overwork, and sacrifice. My first senior pastor talked about the 20 hr/wk he invested in sermon preparation. And he expected his staff to work beyond their stated hours. During those three years of full time seminary and a large youth group I put in up to 80 hr/…

Why pastors need collaboration, not competition

There's competition in every industry. Some get promoted over others. Some work incredibly hard but their gifts go unnoticed. Others do good work and people assume they're fine but underneath, they feel like they could never be honest about how hard life is in this season. People spend more energy figuring out how they measure up in a work culture instead of doing the actual work.

Competition itself implies there are two sides.

I remember field days at my elementary school in Alaska. The half-frozen spring ground was covered with clumps of dirty gray snow. Jackets were thrown on the ground as the fourth graders tried to beat the fifth graders at tug of war. Rope burns were shrugged off as sweat dripped down our young faces. We were determined to beat those fifth graders. Our pride was on the line.

Whether you're a fourth grader or an ad manager at a fancy marketing agency or a senator trying out for attorney general, competition runs deep in our DNA.

We want to be the bes…

99 sheep

Reading Matthew 18:10-14 on this cloudy Anchorage summer morning. Parable of the Lost Sheep. A guy owns 100 sheep. They belong to him. These sheep are loyal and depend on their owner for everything. But then one wanders away. I wonder if this sheep wandered on purpose or accident?

The guy leaves the 99 sheep grazing on the hillside to look for the sheep who got lost. One word in verse 13 jumped out to me. "Andifhe finds [the sheep]...he is happier about that one sheep than about the 99 that did no wander off." IF he finds it. This guy who owns the sheep probably knows the hillside very well and knows his sheep's behavioral patterns. But he may not find this lost sheep. 

When someone wanders off, it's up to them if they want to get found. 

When it comes to our connection to God, some of us may wander on accident. Or on purpose. 

We wait for someone to rescue us. Bring us back. Make it okay. But we have to turn towards the one rescuing us. God will leave the other 99 sheep…