Rethinking Preaching


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.

Links I Like

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.


  1. Barnabas Piper on Trading street corners for social media. This is a great look at how Christians act online.
  2. Ten things Ed Stetzer has learned on twitter.
  3. Luke Simmons on How to keep what is most important in a church, most important. This is a great message for leaders.
  4. Books to read on loving God and loving others. Great book list.
  5. Paul Alexander on Leadership lessons he wished he’d known when he was younger.
  6. What Adam Ramsey wish he had known about student ministry and preaching when he started. I’m really enjoying this series on The Resurgence.
  7. R.D. McClenegan on 6 lessons I learned as a rookie pastor.
  8. 16 ways to reignite momentum.
  9. J.D. Greear on Lead by influence, not command.

The Hypocrite

Here is a teaser video for the final week of the LifeSuckers Series @peopleschurchtv. This series was great and this video was hilarious.

Preach Better Sermons || Mark Driscoll

bookI’m watching the online conference Preach Better Sermons today and wanted to share some of the learnings I picked up. One of the speakers is Mark Driscoll. Mark is the founding pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington, and is one of the world’s most downloaded and quoted pastors. He and his wife, Grace, co-authored Real Marriage, which became a #1 New York Times best seller. His audience, fans and critics alike, spans the theological and cultural left and right. He was named one of the 25 most influential pastors of the past 25 years by Preaching magazine in 2010, and his audio sermon podcast is regularly #1 on iTunes’ Religion & Spirituality chart and has been among the Top 50 of all podcasts at times.

Here are some things that jumped out from his segment:

  • It’s impossible to take the Bible and not see mission. 
  • Being sent is everywhere in the Bible.
  • God’s people are on mission to see more people become God’s people.
  • People showed up at your church, they expect to hear from the Bible.
  • To preach to men you have to say hard things.
  • Churches have this opportunity to teach men how manage money, be married, raise kids, work hard. Nowhere else will teach them all that.
  • Let God speak through your personality and who you are.
  • Give yourself grace to find out who you are and grow into who you are meant to be.
  • There is a difference between a flock and an audience, shows the difference between a pastor and a speaker.

Preach Better Sermons || Ed Stetzer

bookI’m watching the online conference Preach Better Sermons today and wanted to share some of the learnings I picked up. One of the speakers is Ed Stezter. Ed is President of LifeWay Research and author of numerous books including, Lost and Found: The Younger Unchurched and the Churches that Reach Them. Ed is a contributing editor for Christianity Today, a columnist for Outreach Magazine, a visiting professor at two prominent seminaries, and is frequently cited or interviewed in news outlets such as USA Today and CNN. He and his family reside outside of Nashville, TN.

Here are some things that jumped out from his segment:

  • You have to decide what you are communicating. 
  • Maximize your study by minimize your searching.
  • The Bible is always relevant, we don’t need to make it relevant, but we do need to make it relevant to them.
  • We must show our churches why something in the Bible matters.
  • Pastors are prone to exaggeration because they want to motivate.
  • Don’t use bad stats to motivate people.
  • Finding your own voice is one of the most important things for a communicator to do. Don’t be someone else.
  • Preach more Bible instead of simply good advice.

Preach Better Sermons || Jon Acuff

bookI’m watching the online conference Preach Better Sermons today and wanted to share some of the learnings I picked up. One of the speakers is Jon Acuff. Jon is the author of four books including The Wall Street Journal bestseller, Quitter. Acuff is also the author of the popular blog, Stuff Christians, which has more than 4.5 million readers worldwide. Jon’s latest book, Start, releases April 22, 2013. In it, Jon challenges and equips readers to get off the path to average and back onto the path to awesome.

Here are some things that jumped out from his segment:

  • You speak to be remembered or repeated. 
  • The brain looks for ways to connect things they hear.
  • Know the challenges, thoughts, concerns of your audience.
  • Most speakers don’t connect our ideas in our talks.
  • One of the greatest fears communicators have is being honest and share their recent failures.
  • The greatest way to ruin a speech is ego.
  • Share your fears. Speakers should go first, which gives the audience the permission and privilege of going second.
  • If I hide my weakness, they won’t see my strength.
  • God is not handcuffed by our weaknesses or moved forward by our strengths.
  • To communicate something, you have to say something more than you think you do.

His emphasis on transitions and helping people stay with you was incredibly helpful.

Preach Better Sermons || Darrin Patrick

bookI’m watching the online conference Preach Better Sermons today and wanted to share some of the learnings I picked up. One of the speakers is Darrin Patrick founded The Journey in 2002 in the urban core of St. Louis, Missouri. The Journey has six locations and has released seven church plants. Darrin is Vice President of the Acts 29 Church Planting Network (which Revolution Church is part of) and has helped start multiple non-profits in St. Louis. Darrin is the author of two books: Church Planter: The Man, The Message, The Mission and For the City.

Here are some things that jumped out from Darrin’s segment:

  • The Journey rotates through Old Testament, New Testament and hot-button current topics. This keeps the sermons fresh. 
  • By moving around like this, it helps the church have a holistic view of Scripture.
  • Teaching through books of the Bible you are forced to teach on everything.
  • Take chunks of time to prepare during the summer for the rest of the year.
  • We need to preach the gospel all the time, not just in one sermon.
  • The gospel is this thing that is growing.
  • The way we came to Christ is the way we stay in him.
  • People have felt needs, but the gospel is the real need of every human being.
  • Would your sermon work if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead?

Prophet, Priest & King (Dave Bruskas)

Today, me and the rest of our pastors are at Mars Hill Connect Day. Really enjoying the time with the team and what we’re learning. The second session was with the Network Pastor of Mars Hill Church, Dave Bruskas.

Here are my notes:

  • Jesus loves his church
  • Jesus holds the title of Senior Pastor
  • This is not a personality profile or spiritual gift assessment
  • The goal of triperspectival leadership is How do we as a team lead the church well?

If Jesus is the Senior Pastor of the church, how does that play out in the life of the church?

  • Jesus leads his church through 3 primary functions: prophet, priest, and king

Ephesians 4:11 – 13 

  • Jesus doesn’t just give gifts to leaders, he gives gifted leaders to the church he loves
  • Jesus gives leaders to the church so that in collective unity would know Jesus, we get full knowledge of Jesus when Jesus gives gifted leaders to the church so that He can lead the church
  • Jesus leads his church by giving his church gifted leaders, so that those gifted leaders might proclaim him so that the church in unity grows

Ephesians 4:15

  • We grow up in truth through love


  • Leaders help people move in the direction of becoming more like Jesus
  • No one man can best fill all the offices of Senior Pastor Jesus
  • Leading the church on mission with Jesus is a team project
  • You have everything and everyone you need to reach everyone God wants you to reach
  • Your leadership team is most likely imbalanced or incomplete if you are not making progress on mission
  • The best way to build your team is to key off of the lead pastor
  • Your team will progress from prophet, to priest, to king
  • The best team is the one that best reflects the leadership of Senior Pastor Jesus

The Call to Stewardship (Sutton Turner)

Today, me and the rest of our pastors are at Mars Hill Connect Day. Really enjoying the time with the team and what we’re learning. The first session was with the Executive Pastor of Mars Hill Church, Sutton Turner.

Here are my notes:

  • It’s all about Jesus
    • 2 Corinthians 8:9
    • Hebrews 4:14
    • 1 Peter 5:4
    • Everything that we do is all a response to what Jesus has done
  • Governance
    • Jesus is our senior pastor
    • Board of advisors and accountability
      • Approve budgets
      • Hold elders accountable, pray for the elders, they pastor the executive elders
        • Ask about the elders marriage, how their kids are doing
      • Executive compensation
      • Approve bylaws
  • Executive elders
    • Strategic decisions
    • Day to day oversight
    • Prophet, priest, and king
  • Full council of elders
    • Alter doctrinal statement
    • Approve Board of Advisors nominees
    • 60+ current elders
  • Advisory committees
    • Board of elders
      • 3 executive elders + 4 elders at large
      • Annual audit and budget process
      • Review audit
      • Senior ministry council
        • Oversees all ministry at mars hill
        • 3 EE + Executive directors
        • Ministry oversight
      • Leadership council
        • 3 EE + Lead pastors
        • Input on new initiatives & policy changes
        • Approve new elders
  • Executive Pastor
    • The executive pastor must complete the lead pastor, not compete with the lead pastor
    • Executive pastors love Jesus, love the church, and love their lead pastor
    • Guys that burn out as lead pastors, they are doing things that God has not gifted them to do and someone needs to step up and do those things
  • We are one church and we’re 14 churches
    • 2 Corinthians 8:13 – 14
    • Take the abundance of one church to offset the need of another church
    • The amount of staff a church gets is based on how many people attend, not based on money
  • Sowing and reaping
    • 2 Corinthians 9:6
    • Matthew 28:19
    • Core Four – this is what Mars Hill focuses on
      • Sunday services
      • Equipping & Training
      • Leadership development
      • Community
  • Stewardship
    • 2 Corinthians 8:20 – 21
    • Stewardship starts with Jesus
      • We give because Jesus gave
      • Jesus calls us to be good stewards
      • How are you doing?
  • Stewardship of people
    • Budget based on people, not church affluence
    • Staffing based on people, not church affluence
    • Compensation based on responsibility and external studies
    • Leadership development

My Notes from the WCA Global Leadership Summit

So many great leadership nuggets at the Willow Creek Leadership Summit last week. If you missed it, or a session, here are all my notes from it.

What was your biggest takeaway from the summit?

For me, it was the 6X6 idea from Bill Hybels, game changing.

Together for Adoption Conference Starts Tomorrow

Starting tomorrow, Katie and I will be at the Together for Adoption Conference in Phoenix. If you aren’t able to make but would like to follow along, I am one of the bloggers for the conference and will be posting my notes for all the sessions and breakouts I attend at My World. You can also follow me on Twitter or on Facebook for instant updates and pics.

Here is the rundown of main sessions:

  • Darrin Patrick | The Church and Social Justice
  • Tullian Tchividjian | Surprised by Adoption
  • Dan Cruver | Adoption and the God Who Gives
  • Bryan Loritts | The Church as the Theater of Transracial Adoption
  • Jeff Vanderstelt | Gospel-Motivation for Missional Living
  • Tim Chester | Relaxing in Trinitarian Love
I will also be at the pre-conference with Tim Chester tomorrow on Missional God, Missional God, Missional Story.