March 16, 2012

Preach Better Sermons Takeaways

Yesterday a fairly new ministry, Preaching Rocket, hosted it's first online conference. If you missed it, you missed out on preaching gold. Some of the most gifted communicators in ministry as well as a giant in the food service industry & one of the world's most successful comedians shared their insights about communication, preparation, & continuing to grow as a communicator. Here are a few of the big takeaways from my notes.

1) "Cook" Your Messages In A Crock Pot, Not A Microwave.
This idea was woven into some of the interviews that Jeff Henderson conducted. Jeff wasn't actually one of the guest presenters, but Jeff is an incredible communicator & teacher in his own right. His point is that your message is likely to be better the longer you let it ruminate in your heart & mind. If you're scrambling on Saturday night to get your message together, you may be able to bring some good information, but it probably has not had time to work its way through you.

2) Your Message Needs A Bottom Line.
Can you sum up your entire 30 to 45 minute message in a sentence? It sounds like an impossible task, but if you'll work on developing that one thing you want people to walk away with & then build everything else around it, your message stands a better chance of sticking & impacting the way people live their lives.

3) If You're Nervous About Your Sermon, You're Not Ready To Impact People.
Andy Stanley & Charles Stanley both brought this out in their interviews. When you take the platform worried about your performance or how you're going to look at the end of it, you are not really concerned about speaking truth & grace into the lives of the people in the audience. On top of that when you're worried about your performance, it's probably a sign that you're not really that well-prepared anyway.

4) You Can Only Preach As Well As You Pray.
That's straight from Dr. Charles Stanley. I don't think it needs any lame explanation from me. All I'll say is I heard as much about Dr. Stanley's prayer room during his interview as I did about preaching tips & tactics. It spoke volumes about him as a preacher.

5) Don't Leave Out The God Factor In Your Preaching.
It's very easy for preachers who have been preaching for a long time to simply rely on their exegetical & communication skills when preparing their messages. Louie Giglio talked about how easy that is & how easy it is to prepare an incredibly eloquent, persuasive message that is completely devoid of the power of God. Our messages don't change people; God does. If we're not begging Him to invade our words & leverage them for His glory, then we're leaving out a huge part of the preparation process.

6) Don't Leave Out The Fact That Jesus Was Not Just Fully God But Also Fully Man.
This came from Jeff Foxworthy of all people. When asked how he thought the 21st century church could reach men more effectively, he gave what was a very theologically deep answer. He said it's easy to paint Jesus as fully God when He's on the cross, but when you bring up the fact that He was fully man & really hammer that idea home, you realize "there's nothing sissy about Jesus." The problem is that most men see Christian masculinity as some soft, sissy thing, but when they realize that Christian manhood reflects the kind of man that Jesus was, it becomes much more appealing.

7) Preach With The End In Mind
Almost everyone communicated this concept in one way or another. Whether you do this or not can be seen in whether or not you give your audience something to do with the message. Do you have 1 or 2 action steps? Vanable Moody reminded us that the Word of God is a sword & a sword has 1 point. What is your 1 point? What is the 1 thing you want people to do with God's Word?

I could rattle off a lot of other takeaways, but since 7 is the number of completion, we'll stop there. Go check out Preaching Rocket's site & see if the resources they offer could be something that really benefits you in your preparation each week.

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