The environment in which we preach is not always friendly towards pastors.
The trust that a person in ministry might have had three or four decades ago has been eroded.
Rather than implicit trust, we are more likely to be met with distrust, doubt and skepticism when people find out we're in ministry.
But we still are called to preach the gospel with confidence. How do we do this?
In this episode, we'll be diving into an article by Ed Stetzer in which he lays out some ways to communicate with confidence in this climate.
For your sermons to be most effective you should have moments of great intensity balanced with moments of relief.
I once preached a sermon on how to change. The sermon was intense because it dealt with the fallen human condition. I talked about addiction, abuse, pain, hang-ups, hurts and everything in between. The general feel of the sermon was intense. It was heavy. When I finished preaching the first of two services that day I could not shake the feeling that the sermon needed some relief. It was too heavy. It was overwhelming in a way that wasn’t productive.
You might be thinking, Wait! Heaviness is good. Intensity is good. People need their toes stepped on! That’s just the Holy Spirit working on them! I don’t deny that some intensity is needed. I don’t deny that God can use the heaviness to move people. And I understand the power of his Word to cut through hard hearts and break down barriers.
But we are communicating with human beings who need to process...
"Shorter sermons are almost always better."
That was the title of one of the first articles I published at Preaching Donkey back in 2014.
I felt strongly that a shorter sermon is a more effective sermon simply because there is less room for fluff and filler.
Over the years I've adjusted my view, and I want to share my thoughts on this issue. Is a shorter sermon better? Is a long sermon preferable? What are some things to consider?
We'll dive into all that in this episode.
Pauses are great. They can add emphasis and give more weight to your point. A well-placed pause is a powerful public speaking tool that you should know how to use.
But the wonderful effect of a pause is destroyed by a terrible public speaking mistake preachers make: the audible pause. What’s an audible pause?
Well, um, it’s uh, um, I think it’s uh… (Sorry, just had to do that).
An audible pause is when you fill in the gaps of your speech with throw away words like “um” “uh” “you know” “like” and others.
These throw away words are a huge distraction, and every public speaker must deal with them if they are going to stand out.
Rooting out these words is way easier said than done, but in this episode we'll discuss what you can do to reduce and eventually eliminate these words from your sermons and speech in general.
There’s nothing like a good snoozer of a sermon. We’ve all sat through them. We’ve all given them at one point or another (myself included).
But what does it take to preach a sermon that makes your listeners fall sound asleep?
What does it take to defy everyone’s ability to pay attention?
If you aspire to give boring sermons that help your people catch up on rest while you preach, there are five easy steps which I'm sharing in this episode!
As a preacher, it’s easy to focus on your content and not really consider if your listeners are ready to hear it.
You’ve been studying your material all week, and you’re totally energized by it. It’s all you’ve thought about for days. You are so excited to finally share these thoughts that are bursting out of you.
But your listeners aren’t there yet. They walked into church with everything on their minds except your sermon. They have nowhere near the same level of enthusiasm about your topic that you have.
That’s the way it works. You care. They probably don’t.
So what can you do?
The answer is simple: build tension.
You have to make your listeners care about what you're going to say next. You have to make the want and need to hear the rest of your message. Tension is how you do that, and in this episode we'll dive into how!
The best sermons are conversations.
This may seem counterintuitive given that sermons are monologues - you're the only one talking. But in conversational preaching, you give the listener a voice by raising their questions, concerns, doubts, or skepticism.
If done well, you can make each person feel as if you are having a conversation just with them. Like they’re the only person in the room. Like you’re sitting at a table with with them and discussing a problem, a concern, a big thing God wants them to do.
But the question is, "How"? How can you preach in a way that is conversational and gives your listeners a voice? I'll explain my three-step process in this episode.
For the last several decades, attractional churches have reigned supreme. They've gone by different monikers. Sometimes known as seeker sensitive, modern, etc.
The idea in many of these churches, and in evangelicalism at large, has been to make sure churches are as user-friendly and approachable to outsiders as possible.
Nothing weird. Nothing awkward. That was the goal. And for good reason. The thought was, "Let's not make the gospel weird and scare away spiritual seekers."
Like most well-intentioned movements, there was an unintended consequence. Church became stale, predictable, and altogether forgettable. Many of these churches are experiences declining attendance patterns.
But, there is a church movement that is growing and has been for years now - not just in the US, but around the globe - charismatic churches.
In this episode, we're going to look into an article by Carey Nieuwhof in which he explains this phenomenon and some lessons we can learn from it.
Whether you are...
I've served on staff at multi-site churches as well as single-site churches. There are unique challenges and approaches to leading a church with more than one campus.
When it comes to multi-site ministry, there are basically two approaches:
1) Video preaching at the campuses with one live communicator at a "main" campus; or
2) In-person preaching at each campus.
But now there seems to be a third option: Holographic teaching. What? Yes, you read that right. At least one pastor is trying it and we'll look into it in this episode.
Is it a good idea? Is it over the top and excessive? We'll dive into those questions in the episode.
A new report by Christianity Today's Kate Shellnutt details the results of an investigation into the Southern Baptist Convention's handling of abuse survivors within its churches.
From the report: "Investigation: SBC Executive Committee staff saw advocates’ cries for help as a distraction from evangelism and a legal liability, stonewalling their reports and resisting calls for reform."
It's a heartbreaking report that shows abuses and cover-ups going back decades within the SBC and its Executive Committee.
In this video, we'll dive into the report and draw out some lessons we can learn as church leaders and pastors.