Skip to main content

Communicating for a Change, pt. 2

More highlights:

Never lose sight of the fact that it’s God who really does the talking. We’re just the mouthpieces.

Every single person who sits politely and listens to you on Sunday is one decision away from moral, financial, and marital ruin. Every one of them. There they sit. Silent. Waiting. Hoping. Doubting. Anticipating. How hard are we willing to work to create a delivery system that will connect with the heart of our audience?

Jesus & Paul addressed felt needs and supported them with references from the Old Testament. They didn’t teach through a whole book of the Old Testament. They knew better.

At the end of the day, I want the people in my congregation to trust God with every arena of their lives.

Preaching multiple points doesn’t reflect the world we live in. We don’t live our life by points. We live by our emotions. We respond to what we see, taste, or feel. So there’s no compelling reason to remember a list of points. Even the preacher giving the points know they don’t come in handy. That’s why he or she has to refer to their notes. 

By one point, I mean an application, an insight or a principle. Every message should have one central idea that serves as the glue to hold the other parts together.

You still say a dozen helpful, potentially life changing things in one sermon. 

Let the text speak.

Discipline yourself to leave a lot of good ideas on the cutting room floor. You end up with a much more focused and powerful message people are able to follow.

Let’s face it, the reason so many churches are half full on Sunday morning is because a whole bunch of people decided not to come back. Why? The preacher didn’t given ‘em anything to come back for. 

Comments

guy m williams said…
I like a lot of this, but there's a lot of life change at Mars Hill Grand Rapids and Rob Bell teaches through books at a time all the time. I think Stanley's point remains, but the specific application could be too rigid.

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…

Why I stay in the United Methodist Church

We can't ignore the numbers. The United Methodist Church is in decline. Many ask, "Why do you stay? Denominations are useless these days."

But I face that reality with overwhelming hope and excitement. I see the Holy Spirit weaving its way through our current & new leadership in ways I've only dreamed of. A couple years ago, I thought about leaving. But I decided to ask some hard questions about why we're in decline. And that journey to the heart of the United Methodist movement has lit a fire in me to see it renewed.

Why I Stay...

1. Our faith is active. We get our hands and hearts dirty in service & relationships.
2. Every United Methodist church is connected through a network of gatherings, prayer, service, money, agencies and leadership. I would never want to serve in building God's kingdom by myself.
3. I see God changing hearts and lives every. single. day.
4. I am fascinated by our founder who's only intention was to create a renewal movement ins…