Preach the Word 2013: Good Preaching || Justin Anderson

bookI’m at the Preach the Word conference through Acts 29 today and as always, posting my notes to the sessions I attend.

Justin and his wife Emilie Anderson have been married for 7 years and have three children, Lily, Cole and Penny. Before moving to San Francisco, Justin planted Praxis Church in 2004. Since then the church has multiplied to two campuses and merged with two other churches to form Redemption Church. Justin has successfully transitioned Redemption to the next generation of leaders. Redemption SF is the next chapter in his life-long desire to help people meet Jesus and live the transformed life that only the Gospel can bring.

Here are some things from his session:

  • If an athlete will beat his body for a perishable wreath, preachers should beat themselves and work hard at their gift. 
  • Just be you. 
  • Nobody buys it when you sound like someone else.
  • If you believe God has called you to preach, then preach you.
  • It may take 250 sermons to decide on their voice, but you don’t get 250 sermons to decide if you are any good at it.
  • You don’t have to be funny to be a good preacher. If you aren’t funny in life, don’t be funny at preaching.
  • Only preach for as long as people want to listen to you. 
  • Sermon length is not measured in minutes, but in minutes beyond interest.
  • Every guy would be better if they cut out 5 minutes of their sermon.
  • Tim Keller preachers for 35 minutes and none of you are better than Keller.
  • Every point should make the same point. 
  • Your people can only understand one idea a week.
  • You are only able to communicate well one idea a week.
  • The combination means you should preach one idea every week.
  • Everything should make your main idea clearer.
  • If it isn’t clear, you lost them.
  • Listen to what your body is saying. 
  • Everything communicates, everything.
  • Hands, volumes, pace, eye line, posture. It all communicates.
  • Communicate every point to the dead center of the room.
  • Your body should communicate and match what your words are saying.
  • Your weight and body matter. Your presentation of yourself matters.
  • The people in your congregation have to see themselves in you.
  • At the very least, your church needs to respect you as someone worth following.
  • Your body communicates in a message what is most important.
  • Operate a manual transmission. 
  • First gear is our pastoral, priestly voice. It is quiet, communicates difficult truths. Speak with a slow, drawn out cadence.
  • Second gear is my teacher voice. This is the voice at the beginning of the sermon. This is how we quote historical background and leading direct quotes.
  • Third gear is the main voice, 50-60% of the voice in a sermon. It is the voice of exhortation, impassioned stories.
  • Fourth gear is the high point of the sermon. Everything from your volume, pace, posture and focus of your eyes should communicate this is the climax of the sermon. Should include your best dramatic pauses.
  • When you say something good, wait.
  • Fifth gear is the yelling, screaming and jumping up and down. It is the voice you use when you talk about something so egregious that when you talk about it, it makes you sick. Use this only when you have to, it has to match the subject matter. It is when you are losing your mind about something.
  • Screaming is not an effective communication tool.
  • Say less, prove more. 
  • Many pastors make assumptions.
  • Many pastors don’t preach like we live in a post-Christian culture.
  • The majority of the people don’t believe any of your points, you have to prove them.
  • The Bible is not self evident to our culture.
  • Teach me, move me, show me. 
  • Knowing how to do something doesn’t make me want to do something.
  • Preaching is a tool to help people understand the gospel, stir their affections for Jesus and move people on mission.
  • Examples of 4 archetypes to speak to. 
    • The mechanic who works hard, no bull crap. He wants it straight, no fluff, just say it. He wants handles and he wants it in the first 10 minutes.
    • The smart skeptic. This person wants a sermon that is intelligent. You need to address them every time you say something unbelievable. If it is supernatural, faith driven, you have to talk to him or else you are saying, “I don’t acknowledge your presence or I don’t acknowledge your skepticism as valid.”
    • The disciple, the bought in. They love you, they love the gospel. They want something to chew on. They love your sermon the moment they get out of the car.
    • The dude who is there for chicks. Get them at the end with your hammer. He only listens at the end. Remember, he is there to do bad things to the girls God has entrusted to your church.
  • There are more than these people in your church, but if you hit these 4, you will hit everyone.
  • Everything isn’t awesome. 
  • Choose your words carefully.
  • Grace is amazing, everything else has to be somewhere below that.
  • If everything is amazing, nothing is amazing.
  • The cross is remarkable, the burrito in your story was good.
  • You don’t have to convince someone that something is amazing if it is truly amazing.
  • If Jesus is awesome, you don’t have to beg me to believe Jesus is awesome. They will see it.
  • Every time you beg someone to believe something is great, the less sure they are that something is great.
  • Nurture your brain and your heart. 
  • We have to work hard. 
  • Fill your brain and heart with things that are worthwhile.

This is a session that is a great one to use as a preacher to evaluate how you are doing.

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