Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Last week I watched this free web training called "preachbettersermons.com".  It was loaded with some great reminder about what good teaching consists of and how to be a better communicator.  Here's my summary of some great ideas I stole.

The content is not mine.  The summary headings are my way of making sense of it all. Hope you steal some great reminders as you teach students and parents and your staff or whatever.  Some really great truths for any communicator really from a variety of voices...  

  • TIME MATTERS:  Most of the people you are talking to will see you again.  Don't one shot wonder it.  You have time for one sermon.  Let it be what it is.  Say one thing and then save the rest for the next chance.  It's one lap, not the whole marathon.  Brevity can be a huge win in this. 
  • VISUALS MATTER: If your story can have a physical object, then get one.  I LOVE visuals, so this totally resonates with me.  But seriously, if you can give someone something to see or even touch that's not just a picture in their head, it adds so much to your message. 
  • TEAM INPUT INTO MESSAGES MATTERS: When was the last time you gathered a group of people around to interact with and help you refine and better communicate your talk, message, teaching or whatever before you gave it?  We do this more with whole message series brainstorms or game ideas, but it reminded me that when I've done this with my message and with students, it's way better.  Perry talked extensively about using variety of illustrations and feedback from people who had experiences he did not and the benefit of multiple voices into your message.  
  • PLANNING AHEAD MATTERS: He said something like, "When I plan ahead, my creative team does a better job and feels empowered. Planning empowers others for success. It’s not about me, it’s about me serving them."  Kicker is that can't do this the night before or even the week of usually. Even if "you are your creative team", if you can get ahead, your visuals and your videos will be way better.  It also will give you space to invite others to help use their skills and talents too.  This only works if you're willing to plan ahead and work on stuff farther out.  Andy Stanley said he's preparing this week a message he'll give 3 weeks from now.  I'm 6 months out with a lot of stuff, but not even 2 weeks out with message prep. I need to work on this. 
  • AUDIENCE MATTERS: Picture a freshman guy, a girl who is so hurt she can't speak, a senior with one foot out the door, a troubled teen who is thinking of ditching God, a guy who loves sports and a girl whose parents are getting a divorce... think about all the students in your audience and then ask, "What difference can this message make for them? What do they need to hear from me?"
  • LANGUAGE MATTERS:  Avoid insider language and assuming people know the stories.  Inside jokes are only funny for insiders.  
  • SIMPLE ACTION MATTERS: Every message leads to 1 or 2 steps.  Be clear on what you want students or your audience to do and be.  Don't complicate it.  Make it simple. 
  • MY FEELINGS MATTER: We’re not the only ones who feel like we do.  Truth is, everyone is a lot like me.  This is why jokes are funny.  If you feel it or think it, truth is someone else does too.  Don’t think I'm talking to the “lowest common denominator, think MOST common denominator.”
  • TRIMMING THE FAT MATTERS: Don't over detail.  Think simple.  Detail can clutter instead of enhance.  One-liners are clutter free genius.  Trim your illustrations to their essential core. 
  • RELATIONAL CONNECTION AND STORY MATTERS: Think of "preaching" as less about an information transfer and more about a journey you're going on with your audience.  Set up a tension in the first 5 minutes and then wrestle with it with the rest of your time.  Here's how Andy does that in 5 marker points of his message: 
    • Me – Start by answering and communicating: What am I feeling or struggling with today? 
    • We – The ask, "Don't we all struggle with this? Can you feel me?" Help them understand this is how we all feel.   
    • God – Remind them that God speaks to this thing we all wrestle with.  Let's look to the Scriptures together.
    • You – Think:  What would happen if you did this thing we just talked about?
    • We –Act:  How would the world be different if we all did this? 
  • THE BOTTOM LINE MATTERS:  Every sermon needs a bottom line and it needs to have a burden.  If you can't feel it and if you don't know it, the reality is no one else will either.  I need to be able to communicate most of the message in a single sentence or phrase before I say even one word.  


Rachel Blom 5:12 AM  

I listened/watched the same webinar and absolutely loved it. For me, dr. Charles Stanley was the highlight. I was so impressed about the amount of time he spends in sermon prep, especially in prayer...He also kept reminding again and again that better preaching starts with working on our own personal relationship with God. Great reminder for me (I actually blogged about that one yesterday). Thanks for sharing your notes!

brian c. berry 10:11 AM  

yeah, I liked what he said too... but mostly about how it has to be a burden or a fire within you that you simply can't shut up about. As for preparation, I just found it to be terribly unrealistic in my life because I have so much more on my plate than just sermon prep and I'm pretty sure that's about 80% of what he does right now.

Rachel Blom 9:45 AM  

That's what I realized too, is that he has the luxury of focusing on sermon prep...still, I could give prayer more attention instead of approaching the whole preparation rather practically. But that burden-part struck me as well!

Brian Kiley 1:50 PM  

I also watched this seminar and found it to be really helpful. All of those guys shared a ton of great wisdom. I also really appreciated Andy's reminder to preach with a burden. As I've reflected on that I've realized that bad sermons that I've heard (or preached!) have nearly always come from preachers who are clearly not burdened by what they have to say. I've heard Andy talk about his me/we/God/you/we formula before, but I've never really sought to apply it. It makes a lot of sense, and one of my biggest takeaways from the seminar was to try out that model a little bit. It relates closely to Jud's encouragement to preach from our lives. Anyways, thanks for this summary. The seminar as a whole was really terrific, and this is a great list of some of the best points.

Geoff Cocanower 6:37 AM  

Thanks for a great summation! I wasn't able to watch it and so I am pretty sure that I will be visiting this post a couple times over the next few weeks!


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