Rethinking Preaching

book

Getting to hear Tim Keller, Matt Chandler, James Meeks and Andy Stanley speak about preaching was like a preacher’s heaven. So good. Here are some notes from each talk:

Tim Keller

  • How to persuade unbelievers in a sermon: Learn how to persuade with people’s own beliefs, Use people’s beliefs against them, You have to solve heart problems with the gospel, You have to demonstrate to the non-Christian that you know what it is like to not believe, to doubt, and Speak to non-Christians directly. Talk about what they are thinking in that moment. By doing this, you communicate that you know they are there and that their doubts matter.
  • Postmodern people want to know how the gospel fits.
  • If you preach to the heart every week, the non-Christians will hear the gospel every week.

Matt Chandler preached from Luke 15 to show what happens when preaching happens.

  • When the gospel is clearly preached, the most heinous sinners are drawn in.
  • Gospel preaching deconstructs and then reconstructs at the same time.
  • Jesus isn’t just after the prodigals, he is after the self-righteous hypocrite as well.
  • Don’t live vicariously through someone else or books. Don’t have other people hanging out with lost people’s stories.
  • Trust the bible.
  • If you move from biblical doctrine, you’ll have nothing to save people to because you won’t have anything to save them from.

James Meeks

  • Whatever you want people to know or do, you must preach that.
  • Preach the announcements.

Andy Stanley

  • Your approach to preaching is everything.
  • Your approach is more important than content.
  • If you take the wrong approach in preaching, it won’t matter if you have good content.
  • If you don’t care what people do with what you say, you don’t care about people.
  • Jesus didn’t come to make a point.
  • Preachers aren’t to make a point or be right, they are to win people.
  • The foundation of our faith is not the bible but an event.
  • The problem when you say “The bible says” is what else the bible says.
  • You take the bible seriously because you take Jesus seriously and Jesus took the Old Testament seriously.

Then they had a panel discussion and here are some tidbits from that:

  • Churches that create an environment for outsiders are positive. Churches that don’t are negative. Churches that go negatively quickly are inside focused.
  • People aren’t a truth quest; they are on a happiness quest. Preaching needs to start there, embrace the tension people have and then move them to the gospel.
  • If the gospel doesn’t hit on the redemption of all things, it is hard for people to move forward and see the point of things.
  • We need to care about eternal suffering, but also all suffering.
  • A preacher needs to be the most sanctified version of himself, not someone else.
  • A preacher needs to have fun. If you don’t have fun, otherwise people won’t have fun.
  • When you preach, give non-Christians an out and tell them, “you don’t have to do this.”
  • If you give non-Christians an out in a sermon, they lean in.
  • A good critical question for a preacher to ask after a sermon is, “Was the sermon fair in its viewpoint of non-Christians?”
  • A preacher should be prepared.
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously.
  • Don’t forget that the work of preaching is supernatural.
  • Don’t have faith in your sermon, have faith in the Holy Spirit.

Cheap Kindle Books [4.22.14]

Kindle-DX

Here are some great leadership books:

Enhanced by Zemanta

Lots of Cheap Kindle Books 4.18.12

There are a ton of great kindle books for cheap today:

$2.99

$3.49

$3.82

$3.99

$4.99

Links of the Week

  1. Letters to a young pastor. I’m reading this book right now and it is a great book for young pastors, tons of wisdom.
  2. Phil Cooke on the secret to great teams.
  3. Porn blamed for children’s sexual behavior.
  4. Dave Ferguson on What stats a church should count.
  5. Russell Moore answers “Should I marry a man addicted to porn?
  6. Start – Stop – Continue. Great advice for pastors and leaders.
  7. Teens & porn: stats you need to know.
  8. Dave Kraft on The importance of picking the right people for the right teams.
  9. Forbes on Girls for Sale! Changing the Conversation on Exploited Kids in the U.S.

Why I Preach Like I Do Part 2

Yesterday, I talked about some things that guide the preaching at Revolution. Today I want to unpack the second thing that drives our preaching.

We preach for life transformation, not knowledge transference.

I realize if you are a pastor, you would say this is why you preach. But often our sermons say the opposite. In listening to a lot of sermons online, it seems like the goal for pastors is to either show how smart they are or how smart they can make their churches.

In my opinion, one of the most crucial steps in sermon prep is editing, choosing what you will not share. This is difficult because there is often more a pastor would like to share than he has time for. I am one of those guys who loves theology. I love to talk about it, read about it. I could spend hours talking about the sovereignty of God. As interesting as that as is to me, when I preach, I have to show my church not only why that doctrine is true and beautiful, but how that impacts their life. Most pastors seem to stop at, “it’s true” and then move on.

Why does it matter that Jesus was God and human? Why does the Holy Spirit matter?

When preaching, you must always answer the “why does this matter” question.

This is one of the reasons I love preaching through books of the Bible. I’m able to build on each sermon each week. I can quickly refer to something as a reminder, show the context, which helps to answer why an author mentioned what he mentions and then make an application that has to do with life transformation.

All the doctrines I love are about life transformation, we just need to help our people see them.

Two books that have helped me immensely in this area is The Big Idea and Communicating for a Change

Favorite Books of 2011

Every year I list out my favorite books of the year. This year, my goal was to read 50 books and I’m happy to say I did it. For me, one of the ways I relax is reading. I’ve also learned that when it comes to being a great leader and communicator, you have to read. In case you are curious about years past favorites, you can check out my favorite books from 2009 and 2010.

What makes this list different from the music list is that I had to read the book in 2011, it didn’t have to be published in that year. To make this list, I look for books that challenged my thinking and are shaping me as a man, father, husband, leader, pastor and communicator.

Here they are (in no particular order):

  • Rumors of God by Jon Tyson & Darren Whitehead. This book looked at how God is moving in our world and how to see evidences of God’s hand and how faith is playing out in our world. This was a book that didn’t have a lot of things to take from it, but one that I thoroughly enjoyed and found myself feeling really encouraged at the end. Here is my review.
  • What Good is God?: In Search of a Faith that Matters by Philip Yancey. Very similar to Rumors of God, but different enough to make it worth reading. Yancey shares 10 stories from 10 trips he took around the world. After telling the story of seeing pain, tragedy, suffering and faith, he shares the sermon he gave at that place. A great, great book. Here is my review.
  • The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs by Carmine Gallo. I’ve become a big fan of Apple and Steve Jobs over the last few years. This book is a great look at what made Jobs a great communicator. This has huge implications for pastors. Here is my review.
  • Barefoot Church: Serving the Least in a Consumer Culture by Brandon Hatmaker. Don’t read this book unless you want to be convicted and see God challenge you to go to new places when it comes to how you think about money and the world around you. I read this book in 1 evening, it was that good and found myself having to repent of several things in my heart. Here is my review.
  • Great by Choice by Jim Collins. Jim Collins is another author that if he writes it, I’ll read it. So much research, so much for leaders to learn. While this book was not as good as Good to Great, it was a close second. Here is my review.
  • A Work of Heart: How God Shapes Spiritual Leaders by Reggie McNeal. If Reggie McNeal will write it, I’ll read it. This book, though a few years old, had so much in it. I remember reading this book at the beginning of the year and finding myself highlighting almost every line. Quite possibly the best book I read all year. Here is my review.
  • The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan. Rest is not something I always do well. Sabbath has a lot of meanings, I have young kids, life is busy and the excuses mount up. If you are looking to be challenged and move towards more rest in your life and enjoying the presence of God, this is a great book to read. Here is my review.
  • Moneyball by Michael Lewis. I’m not a huge baseball fan, but I wanted to read this before seeing the movie. Haven’t seen the movie yet, but the book was awesome. Great look at some of the science of baseball, and a fascinating story of one man and one franchise. If you are a baseball fan, you should definitely read this book. Here is my review.
  • On the Verge by Alan Hirsch & Dave Ferguson. A great look at what is ahead for church leaders and how they move forward to have an impact for the gospel. This is one of those books that every pastor who wants to see their church make an impact needs to read. Here is my review.

Top Post of 2011 – #2: The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs

Over the last 11 days of 2011, I’ll be posting the top 11 posts of 2011. Here is #2: The presentation secrets of Steve Jobs.

Over the weekend I read through The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to be Insanely Great in Front of Any AudienceWhile not all of it was completely applicable to pastors (as Jobs didn’t have to do a presentation or sermon once a week), there was a lot of nuggets in there for any leader or communicator.

The author, Carmine Gallo shared 18 things that Jobs did in his presentations that every communicator needs to do. Here are a few that jumped out to me personally as applicable for pastors.

Plan in analog. Before starting to write a sermon or presentation, know where it will go. Don’t start with pictures, slides, graphics, notes or handouts. Research, plan, know the goal and then write it.

Answer the question that matters most. According to Gallo, when people listen to a presentation they have one question, “Why should I care?” While that is not the only question a pastor should answer in a sermon, I believe Gallo is right in that, if you don’t answer this question it will be hard to keep their attention when you get to Jesus.

Create twitter-like headlines. This has been written about by Dave Ferguson in The Big Idea and Andy Stanley in Communicating for a ChangeHave one main idea you are trying to get across, not 3 or 5 points. One thing, hammer it over and over.

Make it look effortless. Preaching is hard work, it is weighty. But, when you stand up to preach, you should be so prepared that it looks effortless. You should know your topic, be ready, confessed your sins to God, preach with a right heart that it just flows out of you.

Here are a few other things that jumped out:

  • Jobs didn’t sell products, he sold the dream of a better future.
  • Jobs explained the why before the how.
  • The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.
  • Your brain craves meaning before details.
  • In a presentation, start with the big picture – the problem – before filling in the details (your solution).
  • Always answer, “Why do you need this?”
  • Ideas are more easily remembered when associated with a picture.

The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs

Over the weekend I read through The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience. While not all of it was completely applicable to pastors (as Jobs didn’t have to do a presentation or sermon once a week), there was a lot of nuggets in there for any leader or communicator.

The author, Carmine Gallo shared 18 things that Jobs did in his presentations that every communicator needs to do. Here are a few that jumped out to me personally as applicable for pastors.

Plan in analog. Before starting to write a sermon or presentation, know where it will go. Don’t start with pictures, slides, graphics, notes or handouts. Research, plan, know the goal and then write it.

Answer the question that matters most. According to Gallo, when people listen to a presentation they have one question, “Why should I care?” While that is not the only question a pastor should answer in a sermon, I believe Gallo is right in that, if you don’t answer this question it will be hard to keep their attention when you get to Jesus.

Create twitter-like headlines. This has been written about by Dave Ferguson in The Big Idea and Andy Stanley in Communicating for a Change. Have one main idea you are trying to get across, not 3 or 5 points. One thing, hammer it over and over.

Make it look effortless. Preaching is hard work, it is weighty. But, when you stand up to preach, you should be so prepared that it looks effortless. You should know your topic, be ready, confessed your sins to God, preach with a right heart that it just flows out of you.

Here are a few other things that jumped out:

  • Jobs didn’t sell products, he sold the dream of a better future.
  • Jobs explained the why before the how.
  • The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.
  • Your brain craves meaning before details.
  • In a presentation, start with the big picture – the problem – before filling in the details (your solution).
  • Always answer, “Why do you need this?”
  • Ideas are more easily remembered when associated with a picture.

Top Posts for July 2011

In case you missed them, here are the top posts for the month of July.

  1. On the Verge: A Journey into the Apostolic Future of the Church
  2. My Journey of Losing Weight
  3. Losing Weight Part 7: The Idol of Being in Shape
  4. The Role of Men in Family
  5. 15 Ways to Improve Your Marriage
  6. Planning a Preaching Calendar
  7. The Next Series at Revolution: The Vow
  8. Adoption Puzzle
  9. Parents, Read with Your Children
  10. Summer Preaching Break