Friday, February 17, 2012

Communicating for a Change: Andy Stanley

Is it acceptable that huge amounts of energy is poured into someone preparing a sermon that is promptly forgotton, not talked about and may not change lives? 

Now, of course, preaching isn't primarily about conveying information but it is about communication - of Christ. And what if that doesn't actually happen? As a preacher I have to ask myself - why might much of what I say lost? How could even the main point of my sermon be missed? Might it be because I need to communicate better.

As a 32 year old with over 250 sermons under my belt in church and student contexts. I'm thankful for a lot of input on Biblical accuracy but feel need for more help in actually communicating.
, there is obviously an enormous amount for me to learn

Communicating for a Change by Andy Stanley & Lane Jones comes very highly recommended. I feel like I've benefitted from it since long before reading it, as people have commended it to me and shared the lessons they've learned. Over the last six months I've been preaching noteless which is one of his big suggestions - and now finally I've read the book.

It didn't disappoint. It's a quick read. Excellent communication. The first part is a narrative about communicating that is gripping gulp-moment reading, and then the principles are drawn out. The storytelling is more gripping but by the mid-point I really wanted to learn to do this better.

Stanley advocates a philosophy of communication, not a style of preaching. He advises the flow of a message being Me - We - God - Us - You. Walking from how this effects me, and then us... then bringing one point from God's word, before showing its effect on 'You' and then painting a future in which we believe God's word. Not revolutionary, but clear. And I'm seeing the approach improve the preaching of freinds, and mine too I think. Preparing to communicate better takes more preparation, but it's worth doing well.

Sean Green: The fat king is dead 
Stu Alred: Generosity & Community

Questions might be asked about how to apply this book whilst retain an expository approach. Stanley doesn't seem to primarily work through books. But then I recall hearing Dick Lucas' well refined single point preaching - thoroughly exegetical yet with one big idea. A big idea combined with a transforming-faith-aim. The preacher is always in danger of drowning that point with all the fascinating discoveries from the study...Stanley warns against preaching three sermons in one sermon. Less is more.

Clear communication isn't opposed to letting Scripture set the agenda of our preaching - preaching Christ is non-negotiable, and preachers want to proclaim Christ so that he will be heard and encountered.

James Stewart's Heralds of God has recently been my must-read on preaching, Communicating for a Change is a very different book but deeply helpful and a book I'd widely recommend. Even if you don't follow all of his guidance learning to really communicate is a lesson no preacher can afford to miss.

No comments:

Post a Comment