Friday, June 09, 2006

Preaching and communication

I am always looking and praying about how I can be a better communicator as I preach and teach the Word of God. Andy Stanley (son of television pastor, Charles Stanley) has written a new book entitled, Communicating For A Change. Below is a part of a review of this book done by Perry Noble on his blog,

First of all I was so excited when I discovered that Stanley had written a book about communication. In my opinion--he is one of the top five speakers in America, hands down. And so that fact alone gave the book a certain "authority." In this book Stanley is incredibly transparent about several things--one being the struggle that pastors face when they walk off of the platform and the immediate thought of, "What did people think" flooding their mind! Face it--it matters to us what people think--we want people to be captivated by the message; however, for as much as we want people to be captivated, Stanley points out that EFFORT must be put forth in making that happen. Some argue that "preaching the word" is enough--Stanley disagrees! Here is a quote from page 153...

"Simply put, you have to manufacture interest. On the average Sunday morning, or whenever you communicate, your first responsibility is to pose a question your audience wants answered, create a tension they need resolved, or point to a mystery they have been unable to solve. And if you launch into your message before you do one of those things, chances are, you will leave them standing at the station."

Don't take this the wrong way or blow it out of proportion, Stanley consistently affirms the reliability of Scripture and the need for life changing messages--but his point is well made in that unless people know why they should be listening, they probably won't listen...and like it or not, creating an interest is OUR responsibility as a communicator! I also love the fact that Stanley affirms the fact that preachers need to be honest, in fact, he says at one point in his book, "If you preach from your weakness, you will never run out of material!" WOW--if that is true (and I believe it is) then I will always have something to talk stupidity and selfishness sometimes knows no bounds!Face it--if you are a public speaker of any kind--the pressure is on! Everyone in your audience has some sort of expectation--some want verse by verse, others want to feel good, and others want help with their life because it is falling apart. There is NO WAY that any pastor can meet EVERYONE'S expectations...that is why Stanley believes that preaching for life change is the best solution! He sums this up really well when he says...

"Preaching is a performance. Preachers are performers. But unlike the comedian, we are expected to more than entertain. We are expected to be educational, inspirational, theological, and engaging all at the same time. So there we stand. All alone. All eyes on us. Waiting. Expecting. Hoping. And did I mention that we have to talk to the same audience week after week? Did I mention that all week long they have been driving around in their cars listening to my dad, Chuck Swindoll, Ed Young, and Sean Hannity. Whose idea was this?

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