Whether an author, preacher or blogger generating new content week after week is hard. To make matters worse you can’t just generate content. You have to produce something which people actually want. Yesterday Carey Nieuwhof shared his secret sauce for generating content which people actually want.
Free eBook from the people over at The Gospel Project titled “Christ-Centered Preaching & Teaching.”
- Ed Stetzer, Editor (LifeWay Research)
- Daniel Block (Wheaton College)
- David Murray (Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary)
- Walt Kaiser (Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary)
- Bryan Chapell (Grace Presbyterian Church in Peoria, IL)
I don’t know what’ magical about this week, but there are three different conferences or webinars for pastor’s and church leaders are online this week. The Preach Better Sermons webinar is running on-demand at the moment, and the Orange Conference and Exponential Conference stream live.
If you can’t afford $100s of dollars for a conference, you can check out the main conferences for free online.
ORANGE CONFERENCE – Starts Wednesday Night (April 30th)
EXPONENTIAL CONFERENCE – I’m watching this live NOW (10:24 a.m. central time, and up to this point they have the same speakers who were at VERGE 2014. Interesting…
During the 2013 Preach Better Sermons webinar, they shared an interview with Louie Giglio where he discussed his process of sermon writing. During the interview he shared what he called his six rules of preaching.
Here are his six rules of preaching, and some other insights he gave on preparation.
RULE #1 – Have Something to Say
- If you have nothing to say please stop preaching.
- If you only have a little bit to say, keeping saying what you have to say.
- The most important thing you can say is the thing that is blowing up in your heart.
RULE #2 – Be faithful to the Text
- You don’t have to be a Greek scholar to be faithful to the text. You can communicate the simple truths which are in plain sight in the text.
- If you are trained in Bible study techniques, you should always use deeper insights NOT to impress, but to give weight to what you are communicating.
RULE #3 – Lead people to Jesus
- The goal isn’t to lead people to the preacher.
- No matter the text, they should leave with more of Jesus.
- Don’t create fans of yourself. Create fans of Jesus.
RULE #4 – Don’t Be Boring
- The gospel is the greatest story ever told about the greatest man who ever lived. There’s no reason for it to be boring.
- The entire Bible is God revealing Himself to mankind. It should naturally cause excitement.
- There’s little worse in life than carrying the story of Jesus and hope and making it boring.
RULE #5 – Prepare
- Preaching requires preparation, and you have to work at it.
- You start with some initial idea for a sermon or a sermon series.
- You have no idea when you deliver this talk, but the idea for a great message is conceived in your mind.
- It may be 2 months or 2 years before the talk is delivered, but it always starts with an idea.
- This is the development period, the time between the original conception of the idea and when you finally write and deliver the talk.
- During this time you record ideas for texts, illustrations, stories, quotes or creative elements. Here you’re simply gathering and collecting ideas for the talk.
- You may not even know when or where you’re going to deliver the talk, but you’re collecting resources for when you do.
- This step is when you finally construct the talk.
- For Louie, this is a 2 or 3 hour process, 5 hours at the longest.
- He starts with many pages of notes and ideas, and through the process shrinks it down to a single page outline.
RULE #6 – Be led by the Holy Spirit
- When we get done with our preparation, view it as a suggested guide which the Holy Spirit can do whatever He wants.
- I am led by the Holy Spirit best when I have prepared the most.
- I want to be led by the Holy Spirit not a manuscript or a sermon series.
Whether you’re a preacher or give business presentations, the essentials of communication are the same: (1) Content, (2) Clarity, and (3) Connection. To effectively communicate, you need all three elements. Here are twenty questions that will help you sort through content, package it in a way which is clear, and connect with the audience from start to finish.
- [KEY QUESTION] What is the one thing the audience MUST walk away with?
- Are you answering a question that the audience is asking?
- Do you have any useful information?
- What information do you want to communicate?
- What is the least important information in your presentation?
- What information do you need to remind the audience of during your talk?
Clear / Clarity
- [KEY QUESTION] Are you building bridges from their current understanding to the new information you’re presenting? Or, are you expecting them to simply understand the new information?
- Are you literally speaking clearly? Is the environment so loud and distracting that they can’t hear you?
- Have you stopped to consider where the audience is currently at in their understanding of the subject?
- What is the one thing the audience must understand?
- What does your audience need to understand before they can understand your talk?
- Are your illustrations, examples, and stories relatable to the audience? Do you have to explain your illustrations to the audience? (HINT: If they don’t naturally understand an illustration, it’s not a good illustration for that audience)
- Are you giving them so much information that they will be overwhelmed?
- [KEY QUESTION] Why should the audience continue to pay attention to anything you’re about to say?
- How can you hook the audience from the beginning?
- How can you build a tension in your introduction which will lead the audience to keep listening?
- When is it absolutely crucial that your audience is paying attention?
- What elements in the environment will be a hinderance to you keeping their attention?
- When in your talk/presentation/sermon are you most likely to lose their attention?
- What are you doing to engage people with a variety of learning styles?
Andy Stanley on Preaching
Andy Stanley is a master communicator. I’m not aware of anyone else with such a gift to make virtually any subject both compelling and seem vitally important. Here are 10 quotes from Andy Stanley on preaching and communication.
QUOTE #1 – “Approach is what makes content interesting”
Approach is what makes content interesting . We’re all preaching the same Bible. We have different approaches
QUOTE #2 | “You cannot communicate complicated information to large groups of people”
You cannot communicate complicated information to large groups of people. As you increase the number of people, you have to decrease the complexity of the information.
QUOTE #3 | “Communicators need to figure out how well they engage people”
Communicators need to figure out how well do they engage people, and they should not talk one word longer than people are engaged.
QUOTE #4 | The wrong question | “Am I going to fill the time?”
Preachers prepare with this fear: ‘Am I going to be able to fill the time?’ The audience never worries about that.
QUOTE #5 | “Make people feel like they need an answer to a question”
Preaching on Sunday mornings is such a simple thing, and by complicating it, I think we all do ourselves and the audience a disservice. It is very simple. Here is the model: Make people feel like they need an answer to a question.
QUOTE #6 | “Every sermon or worthwhile talk needs…”
Every sermon or worthwhile talk needs, Information,Inspiration and Reiteration.
QUOTE #7 | “Our approach to communicating should be shaped by our goal in communication”
Our approach to communicating should be shaped by our goal in communicating. Most of us inherited our approach to communicating. We grew up listening to preachers who all took basically the same approach. Then we went to schools where we were all taught to develop messages along the lines of the style we grew up listening to. Chances are, nobody challenged you to think about your goal as a communicator. They just taught you an approach. But if your approach to communicating does not support your goal as a communicator there is a disconnect.
QUOTE #8 | “It is the job of the Holy Spirit to take the spoken word & convict”
I agree, it is the job of the Holy Spirit to take the spoken word and convict, convince, and change the hearer. And we have no control over what part of what we say the Spirit might choose to use. Further, I think you would agree that the Holy Spirit often takes different ideas, illustrations, and insights from the same message and applies them to different people in various ways.
QUOTE #9 | “Show up every Sunday morning with a burden”
Show up every Sunday morning with a burden that is so heavy that you feel like you will die if you don’t deliver it. And pray for that. Because if you don’t have that, then you just have information. The people will put up with all kinds of a lack of excellence if there is an intensity and a burden that has to be delivered. And many times I have looked at my notes and thought, “Yeah, this might be helpful, but God, what’s the thing I can’t wait until Sunday morning to deliver? And I honestly can’t wait for Sunday morning. The other thing I always tell pastors, “If you preach from your weaknesses, you will never run out of sermon material.
QUOTE #10 | “The issue is: are people engaged, not how long the sermon is”
There is this myth that people say, “Sermons need to be short because people today have short attention spans.” That is totally irrelevant. People’s attention spans are as long as their engagement. If I’m engaged, I will sit and stay engaged until I have to go to the bathroom. The issue is: are people engaged, not how long the sermon is.