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 || Nancy Duarte

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 Nancy Duarte is a communication expert who has been featured in Fortune, Forbes, Fast Company, Wired, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, The Economist, LA Times and on CNN. Her firm, Duarte, Inc., is the global leader behind some of the most influential visual messages in business and culture and has created more than a quarter of a million presentations. As a persuasion specialist, she cracked the code for effectively incorporating story patterns into business communications. Resonate, her latest book, spent nearly a year on the top 100 business book bestsellers list.

Here are some things from Nancy’s segment:

  • Contrast is crucial to a talk sticking. 
  • Stories build up tension and then releases.
  • To communicate effectively you have to like your audience.
  • Communicators need to put themselves in their audience shoes.
  • Movies that win awards for best picture also win awards for editing. Editing, cutting, crafting is what sets apart a good from a great talk.
  • The hero of a presentation is not the person talking the most, but the audience. The audience determines if your idea lives or dies. They make or break your idea.
  • People should leave a sermon and feel unstuck.

Preach Better Sermons || Crawford Lorritts

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 Dr. Crawford Loritts, who is the Senior Pastor of Fellowship Bible Church in Roswell, Georgia. He is a frequent speaker for professional sports teams, including three Super Bowls and the NCAA Final Four Chapel. He has spoken to gatherings of senior military officers at the Pentagon. He is a featured speaker at Promise Keepers men’s conferences. He and his wife, Karen, are featured speakers at Family Life’s marriage and parenting conferences. He is a visiting professor at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Crawford is also the host of “Living A Legacy”, a daily radio program heard on 330 outlets by approximately 500,000 per week.

Here’s what I got out of Crawford’s segment:

  • You’ll never preach any better than who you are. Effective ministry always comes out of the overflow of your heart and walk with God. 
  • You can’t separate yourself from the preaching moment.
  • Sermons are different from speeches.
  • The more you do something, the more intentional you need to become about it.
  • Preaching is not a transactional gig, it is a word from God for the people in a moment in history.
  • In a church, the work is never over, there is never an end.
  • The men who God uses are not always the greatest preachers.
  • My life should be the autobiography of Christ in this point in history.

Loved the wisdom from an older preacher, so helpful to hear from a humble leader who has been at it for decades. Great model.

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?

Preach Better Sermons || Donald Miller

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 Donald Miller. Donald is the founder of Storyline, an organization that helps people plan their lives using the elements of story. He is the author of multiple New York Times Bestsellers including Blue Like Jazz and A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. He is also the founder of The Mentoring Project, a non-profit helping to provide mentors for fatherless children. Don currently lives and works in Washington, DC.

Here are some things that jumped out from his segment:

  • To be a good writer, you must write daily. 
  • When you force creativity or writing, it isn’t as great.
  • You need to show up everyday because you don’t know when creativity will strike or when something will hit.
  • In sermons, you must create tension to engage people.
  • We explain our beliefs based on science or scripture and give 3 reasons for others to believe what we believe.
  • Instead, we need to share the experiences that led to our beliefs. Experiences teach us, not reasons. Don’t teach reasons, walk people through experiences.

Preach Better Sermons || Louie Giglio

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 Louie Giglio is the Lead Pastor of Passion City Church in Atlanta, Georgia. He is also the founder of Passion Conferences, a collegiate movement, calling people around the world to live lives that make much of God. He is the author of The Air I Breathe, I Am Not but I Know I Am, Wired: For a Life of Worship, and Indescribable.

Here are some things that jumped out from his segment:

  • As a communicator, you need to find your style of communicating, refine it and work on it until you are Michaelangelo of your communicating style. 
  • I love that Louie talked about how he continually tries to learn from other communicators. You never stop learning and growing.
  • Great sermons take a long process just like pregnancy. Let it simmer, let it take time. Don’t rush sermon prep.
  • Editing is crucial to a great sermon. Louie edits his sermon from 8-10 pages and preaches from 1 page.
  • As a preacher, it doesn’t matter what your church is called, what the music like or what you wear. You have to be faithful to the text.
  • Louie’s 6 rules of preaching: (1) Have something to say, (2) Be faithful to the text, (3) Lead people to Jesus, (4) Don’t be boring, (5) Prepare, (6) Be led by the Holy Spirit.
  • I am led best by the Holy Spirit when I’ve prepared best.
  • Humility is a byproduct of walking with Jesus.
  • Preaching is a recipe for trouble for human beings because we’re on a platform in front of people, being recorded.

Preach Better Sermons || Steven Furtick

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 was Steven Furtick, who is the founding pastor of Elevation Church. He’s also the author of Greater and Sun Stand Still

Here’s what I got out of Steven’s segment:

  • Steven plans 4 months in advance and finds this keeps things fresh in his mind. 
  • Steven is very involved in the creative elements and process of each service because of his passion for that.
  • For a successful creative sermon process: listen to the pastor’s vision, let the artists work on what comes to mind from this (separate from the pastor), bring it back to the pastor. This brings a greater vision and sometimes different from what the pastor would do, which can be a good thing.
  • The whole worship service is one thing, not separate parts, it is one thing.
  • The service is won and lost in transitions.
  • Preaching and a worship service communicate what your values are.
  • I really appreciated hearing how Steven prays and confesses sin before preaching. Loved hearing his heart on that.
  • You can’t preach better than you pray.
  • The more preaching is about the people and less about the performance, that’s when passion comes and God shows up.

Preach Better Sermons

Today I watched the Preach Better Sermons online conference from Preaching Rocket. So many good things to take away. Here are some nuggets from the speakers:

Perry Noble

  • A preacher preaches best when he preaches out of the overflow of his heart.
  • Talk to people who you will be talking to.
  • The mind remembers more of what it sees than it hears.
  • Pastors have foes, fans and very few friends. Know who they are. Don’t listen to foes.
  • Friends love Jesus, the church and you (in that order). That’s who leaders should listen to.
  • One thing I’d tell preachers: Let the Bible drive the sermon. Listen to other communicators.

Jud Wilhite

  • To find common ground, communicate from your life. Start the sermon by sharing something from your life that relates to the topic.
  • The most powerful illustration you can use are ones that your lived experiences overlap with the listener’s shared experience. The second most powerful are your learned experiences that overlap the listener’s lived experience.
  • Preaching is truth through personality.
  • Another way to find common ground is to communicate to the broken.
  • Think through specific people in your church and ask how this applies to specific people.
  • Another way to find common ground is to preach the word. Preach Jesus.
  • 90% of those who visit a church say that the preaching is the reason they come back.
  • You can’t assume people know what you’re talking about when you say words like grace, gospel.
  • Communicate for next steps. Can people clearly see the connection the Bible has to my life?
  • Apply the text to your life, their life, and the church/city.
  • Have a crystal clear next step.

Andy Stanley

  • Me-You-God-You-We. This outline still transforms my preaching.
  • Me says, “I struggle with this.” You/we says, “I bet you do too.”
  • Answer how someone does something with what I say.
  • People need to not only know what to do, but they need to know what is at stake if they don’t do it.
  • Answer they question, “Why is it important for my church to know this. What do I want them to do? How will they do it?”
  • The why question raises the stakes.
  • When you preach, do you have a burden?
  • Preach in phrases, sound bites. Jesus did, “Know the truth and the truth will set you free.” So much truth is packed into that phrase.
  • A great sermon has tension; you have to make them want to know the answer to the question.
  • Tension is the key to interest.
  • Preach to the person who is coming for one last shot, comes because his wife made him.

Jeff Foxworthy

  • Humor for preachers is a disarming, engaging thing.
  • Humor is not taking yourself to seriously.
  • If you feel or think something, others are as well.
  • The best communicators cut the fat, they get rid of useless, unnecessary details.
  • How does a church/pastor reach men? Christian men have been portrayed as good sissies.
  • Be vulnerable as a communicator; admit you don’t have it all figured out.

Vanable Moody

  • Effective preaching starts with the end in mind.
  • Behavioral preaching focuses on the end, what you want people to do as a result of hearing your message.
  • Jesus preached to change people’s hearts and then change their lives.
  • 90-95% of what we hear is forgotten within 72 hours.
  • Do you want to make an impression or make an impact? That’s the question preachers must answer.
  • Behavioral preaching starts with you identifying the behavior the Scripture calls for. What does the Scripture say we should live like?
  • The Scripture is called a sword and a sword has only one point.
  • People need to see the message in your life before they can do the message you’ve given to them.
  • When someone hears a message, they are asking, “Why should I listen to you? Can I trust you? Do you even care about me? Do you know what you are talking about?”
  • Have a clear behavioral purpose.
  • Make sure that as you communicate that purpose, make sure it is clear and simple.
  • Use words and phrases that people can grasp and remember.
  • Give people points for their head and pictures for their hearts.
  • Provide a vehicle for them to do what you’ve been preaching about.

Charles Stanley

  • Effective communicators are disciplined. You aren’t just filling time.
  • A man can’t preach any better than he prays.
  • A man needs a burden before he can preach. Without a burden, you shouldn’t preach.
  • You as a preacher must feel the weight of what God wants to accomplish.
  • We’re preaching for impact, not to impress anybody. We want to see life change.
  • We need to preach the one thing they have to know when they leave church.
  • You can’t think about yourself and make an impact on someone.
  • If you are going to preach well, you have to make it your top priority.

Louie Giglio

  • Too often, we preach on our own power, without God.
  • Preaching is about the presence and the power of the word of God.
  • We need to discover what God wants to say.
  • Let the text form a great message in you before preaching.
  • The most prepared people are the most spontaneous.

All in all, a great day with a ton of nuggets when it comes to preaching.