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Course Syllabus Principles of Effective Communication Credit:

1 semester credit

Course Description The course is designed to teach the art of effective speaking, be it one-on-one, in a small group setting, or addressing a large audience. It identifies needful character traits, communication devices, organization of material, listener identification, and styles of communication. It provides a laboratory for identifying and building personal speaking skills.

Course Objectives I. Appreciation: The student will experience a greater confidence in public speaking. II. Knowledge: The student will: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Understand the difference between inductive and deductive speaking. Explain what textual, topical, and exegetical sermons are. Identify the specific character traits essential for effective speaking. Gain understanding of the way that Jesus taught. Identify the various parts of a message and the functions of each part. Learn communication techniques.

III. Skills: The student will develop in his ability to: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Properly organize the ideas he will communicate. Gain and maintain the listener’s interest. Bring proper emphasis to his key points. Intermix humor and seriousness in his presentations. Lead people to an appropriate response to the truth presented. Set the proper tone in the minds of the audience.

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Course Requirements: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Read all assigned sections of textbooks and handouts. Complete all written assignments. Keep a notebook for all lectures and handouts. Complete all speaking assignments. Complete satisfactorily the final examination. Parts 1 & 2 (outline and presentation).

Course Evaluation: Class participation Textbook interaction Speaking presentations Outline Homework

10% 10% 50% 20% 10% -----100%

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Ingredients of an Effective Sermon

Sermon Preparation Checklist Adopted from How to Prepare a Bible Message, by James Braga

Notes:

Kinds of Sermons Topical Sermon: 1. In a topical sermon, no key text is required. The main points come from the overall topic. 2. Discover the Biblical reasons for the points of the topic. 3. Limit the outline to the central idea. 4. Have a subject, topic, theme, and title. 5. Seek God’s leading for the topic. 6. Divide the presentation into logical or else chronological order. 7. Have the climax of your conclusions in the last division. 8. The divisions may be analysis or a presentation of proofs. 9. Analogies can be presented as well as contrasts with other Scripture. 10. Place repetition of the common phrase in the outline. 11. Incorporate word study(ies). 12. Don’t take any scriptures out of context. 13. Be as brief as possible. Textual Sermon: 1. A sermon which teaches the meaning of a portion of Scripture. 2. Begin with a text. 3. The development of the message is drawn from the text. 4. May also amplify an idea in the text from drawing from other passages. 5. Divide the verses into important parts. 6. Draw from text to help people understand the passage. 7. The main divisions are directly from the text. Subdivisions may come from other passages. 8. Use different parts of speech to place emphasis. a. The Lord IS my shepherd. b. The Lord is MY shepherd. 9. Center around one point. Branch out to develop that point. 10. Main divisions: a. May be suggested by text. b. May be presented in logical or chronological sequence. c. May consist of actual words from the text. 11. Have simple outlines and build upon them.

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Sermon Preparation Checklist

Expository Sermon: 1. The most effective way to teach larger portions of scripture. 2. One theme with material drawn from the passage. 3. Base everything (subject, subdivisions, etc.) on the scripture. 4. Purpose: make the meaning of the Scripture clear. 5. Mechanical layout: write main statements in a way that is most meaningful. 6. Don’t lose the meaning. 7. Carefully study the text. Find the subject (diligent study yields light). 8. Significant words in the text can form divisions of the outline. 9. The order of the sermon may differ from that of the text. 10. Truths of the passage may form divisions. 11. May use more than one passage. 12. Study other instances of the occurrence of a word. 13. Use different emphasis for personal testimony. 14. Passage may form multiple differing outlines. 15. Only use natural ideas of the text. 16. Don’t violate the context. 17. “Therefore” is an extremely important word 18. Know the culture of the time. 19. Be logical and don’t get lost in details. 20. Relate the message to present day situations and needs. 21. Don’t spend too much time on application. 22. Be sure that you have interpreted the passage correctly.

Parts of a Message Title: 1. Identifies the subject. 2. Gets the attention of the listeners. 3. Builds interest in the mind of the listener to hear what you have to say. 4. May use an alliterative pattern. Ex: The Great Gain of Godliness. 5. Maintain dignity. 6. Be brief, yet use more than one word. 7. May be a question.

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Sermon Preparation Checklist Introduction: 1. Write out the introduction after the outline and the conclusion are done. 2. The purpose of the introduction is to: a. Secure the good will of your listeners. b. Arouse their interest in what you have to say. c. Establish the importance of the message. 2. The introduction needs to be brief. 3. Explain the reason for the title and its relation to the message. 4. You may use: a. Real life situations and stories to that relate to the message. b. Up-to-date facts. 5. The introduction leads into the first main point. Proposition: 1. The proposition is a one sentence statement of the main lesson of the sermon. 2. It stresses the most important idea of the message. 3. It dictates the course of the sermon. 4. You may come to the proposition by reflecting upon the five W’s (who, what, when, where, why) as you consider your topic. 5. The proposition needs to be a complete sentence, a declarative sentence which avoids ambiguity. It is specific and concise. Divisions: 1. The purpose of the divisions is to bring: a. Clarity of thought. b. Unity of thought. 2. Emphasizing the divisions helps people remember what they heard. 3. They will all line up with the proposition, developing and defending it. 4. There should only be a few main divisions. Subdivisions: 1. The subdivisions develop the thought of the main division. 2. Don’t specifically refer to them in the message. (otherwise people will not be able to remember the main points). Transitions: 1. Help move smoothly from one point to the next. 2. Help to link sermon parts together. 3. Key to maintaining good flow during presentation.

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Sermon Preparation Checklist

Notes: Illustrations: 1. Illustrations make the main points come alive. 2. They emphasize the importance of the point. 3. You may draw illustrations from: a. Your own personal experiences. b. Biblical stories. c. The historical background of the passage. Conclusion: 1. In the conclusion the presenter’s main theme or point reaches its goal with an impacting impression. 2. Be brief and simple. 3. Final words should be carefully and thoughtfully chosen. a. This is the main thought or impression that you want to leave with your audience. b. The fulfillment of the proposition. 4. Most important part of your presentation, this is what you will leave your audience with. Take time to develop this. Application: 1. The point in your presentation in which the truth is brought personally and directly upon individuals in order to encourage a proper response by the individual. 2. Relate sermon to basic human problems. 3. Bring Bible scenes and characters alive for today. 4. Illustrate the truth in such a way that it can be applied in everyday life. 5. Make sure that your application lines up with the truth in Scripture and that it relates to the times. 6. Make application specific. 7. Encourage right motivation.

Delivery of Presentation 1. Hammer home the key ideas so that they are remembered. 2. Always apply 2 Timothy 2:24. The Lord’s bond servant: a. Must not be quarrelsome. b. Must be kind to all. c. Must be skillful in teaching. d. Must be patient when wronged. e. Must be gentle in dealing with people. 3. Don’t quote any one source too frequently.


Principles of Effective Communication Notes by Larry Allen Notes: 1. Determine your purpose. What is it that you want to accomplish? What response do you want to illicit from your audience? 2. Be genuinely enthusiastic. 3. Know your audience. a. What do they want? b. What do they now believe? c. How can I make what I have to say appeal to them? d. What kind of language and terms are familiar to them? In good public speaking, all words & actions are designed for the audience. Remember: Your audience is your friend. Don't ever be hostile to them. Be warm and friendly with them. 4. Use positive statements. It is easy to state things negatively. It takes thought to state things in a positive and constructive manner. 5. Use clear and precise language. 6. Organize your ideas. Organization carries your content to the listener in a systematic and interesting way. As you organize, keep the following things in mind: a. Who is my audience? b. What can I do for them? c. What special ideas can I present to them? d. How can I make it easier for the audience to remember what I said? 7. Never memorize a speech. 8. Use emphatic gestures. a. Gestures such as a clinched fist or a shrug of the shoulders aid in communicating emotions. b. Develop your own ways of communicating emotions and emphasizing points with body movements and facial expressions. c. Descriptive gestures: count with your fingers as you list ideas, use a broad sweep of the arm to illustrate vastness, point to give direction. d. Remember: half-hearted gestures communicate halfhearted enthusiasm.

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Principles of Effective Communication

9. Speak from genuine conviction. Your audience will know whether or not you are sincere in what you are saying. 10. Avoid unnecessary repetition and distracting fillers like "uh", "um", "you know", and "like". 11. Avoid jargon and abbreviations unfamiliar to your audience. Examples: DTS, SOE, SOTB, YWAM, regeneration, sanctification, etc. 12. Use the right word at the right time with the right audience. a. Whether you use the word "perspiration" or the word "sweat" depends entirely upon your audience. b. You may use "How do you do, Mr. Jones" in one situation and "Hello, Bill" in another situation. 13. Maintain eye contact. Look at individuals, not at a sea of faces or at the back of the room. 14. Maintain good posture. Be relaxed, and free in your movements, but do not slouch. 15. Use visual aids. a. Display only the important details. b. Keep the next points concealed so your audience stays with you. c. Be sure that your aid can be seen by all of your audience. 16. Use plenty of illustrations. Illustrations serve to clarify a point while making your presentation more interesting. a. Figurative language: "The road is a ribbon of moonlight" (metaphor). 1) Helps to make ideas vivid and dramatic. 2) Can make complicated, abstract ideas more understandable. b. Stories, jokes, parables, fables. d. Examples: specific cases that explain, clarify, or reinforce your point. e. Factual data and statistics: percentages, proportions, totals, comparisons, rounded-off numbers. f. Quotations: be sure your audience knows who you are quoting or else give them the background they need. d. Slogans: catchy phrases 17. Review your points as you go. Restate the essence of previous points in different words.

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Principles of Effective Communication

18. Be personal in your speaking. a. Use lots of questions to lead people to think with you. b. Build the listener up. "He doesn't care how much you know until he knows how much you care." c. Respect his opinions and ideas. d. Inspire and lead him to apply what you are saying. e. Help him to understand the reasonableness and value of what you are saying and asking him to do. f. When you must disagree, be sure it is clear to him that you understand his point of view and respect his right to hold it. Keep the focus on the problem under discussion, not on attacking his personality or value. g. When you are wrong, humbly admit it. h. Keep control of your temper at all times. Anger generates more heat than light. i. Avoid interrupting others when they are stating their position, etc. j. Recommended reading: John Henry Newman's Definition of a Gentleman. 19. Make steady forward progress. a. Use transitions in going from one point to the next in order to interrelate ideas. b. Use summaries from time to time to pull ideas together. c. Try not to digress for too long. d. Ask questions periodically to be sure that people are still with you. e. Point out the importance of understanding what you are presenting. f. Discuss one idea at a time, breaking a process down into its steps and getting understanding and agreement on each one, before going to the next. g. Use urgency devices: "We only have fifteen minutes to..." etc. What are other ones? 20. Clarify attitudes and feelings. a. Watch for cues that the listeners are disagreeing with you: facial expressions, hesitancy in responding, etc. b. If you confront negative attitudes: 1) Try an indirect approach of discussing ideas that relate to his attitudes without labeling them. 2) Use the direct approach if the indirect one fails. Try to bring his attitude into the open by asking: "Do you feel..."

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Principles of Effective Communication

21. Answer objections appropriately. a. Never argue. b. Answer directly and briefly. c. Discuss agreeably and positively. d. Bring the objection into the larger and more important context. e. Above all, conduct yourself with dignity as a lady or a gentleman at all times.

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Jesus Style Communication Lectures by Landa Cope

Notes: I.

It is not merely words which communicate the meaning of the message. A. Communication takes place only when any intended audience understands the intended message. B. People must come to understand the concept we are seeking to convey with the words we are using. Then they can express the concept in their own words.

II. It is impossible to separate communication from meaning. A. We need to think of our audience the same way God thinks of them. B. Human beings are made with the ability to choose. We can only influence others, not make choices for them. C. We want to be transformed in our way of thinking and not only direction. Repentance is transformation in our way of thinking. III. What is communication? A. Communication is God (the Word in the beginning was God) Ex: Love communicates: lack of communication results in the end of a relationship Ex: The human race longs for communication. Salvation is a restoration of communication (the communication between God and men). B. Communication is the transfer of a concept from the speaker to the listener. IV. Communication without understanding is impossible. A. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God! People must understand the meaning of symbols (words). B. In order to understand, one must be able to see the picture in the imagination. V. There are various ways of communication. A. Art, words, music, personal expression. B. God knows no barriers to communication! Rom. 1:20 VI. The world does not have the standard for communication. A. Don’t borrow the ability to communicate from the world! Use what God has given to you. Every person has the built-in ability to communicate.

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Jesus Style Communication Notes: B. Adam’s first task was to create language. Ex: Adam and Eve never felt lonely before they sinned. The first thing that happened after Adam and Eve sinned was the breaking of communication. After the fall, man’s biggest fear was fear of communication. C. No communication = not understanding each other. Not understanding each other = constantly in conflict. Constantly in conflict = division and separation (loss of our purpose [relationship]).

VII. Components of Jesus style communication. A. Authority: having God’s message, God’s character, God’s anointing, the people marveled because Jesus taught not as the scribes and Pharisees, but as one having authority. B. Identification: 1. Jesus always identified himself with the people around him. Jesus never met people as groups but individually Ex: There’s not a record in the Bible that Jesus gathered together Zaccheus, Nicodemus, Lazarus, the Samaritan woman, and the ten lepers for a discussion about sin. 2. Maintain awareness of who your audience is! There is a need for every individual and your message may be the answer for what he or she needs. Ex: We often get frustrated because we don’t see a massive response to our preaching. We forget that each person is unique and therefore each one has a different need. a. Your message must be personal communication. You must be involved in it; otherwise it will take away the spirit of communication. b. Differentiate between essentials and accidentals. 1) Essentials: repentance: without it you cannot be a Christian. 2) Accidentals: the steeple on top of the church building: you can still be a Christian with or without it. 3. Ask people what they believe in, and then talk with them about Jesus becoming a man in order to demonstrate to us the right way of living. 4. Establish in their minds your genuine care for them. Ex: People don’t want to hear how wrong they are, but rather how much you care! Ex: Do not correct anybody unless you have proved you loved them! Otherwise, your correction will not be received.


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Jesus Style Communication

5. Discover their point of identification. Make people know that even if they have sunk into the deepest depravity, they don’t have to be that way - they can be somebody! 6. Do not approach them with a hard, critical, judgmental attitude. 7. What was Jesus like? Read Hebrews 2 and Jesusstyle identification. Don’t idolize the symbol, just get the message! The signs and wonders are not the main part of Christianity. Every time Jesus performed a miracle it was with the purpose of teaching something. a. If you’re being made perfect, from what state are you being perfected? Imperfection! b. The Bible says that Jesus was being perfected. This doesn’t mean He sinned. Jesus had to learn obedience. He had to deal with ignorance. Jesus had to learn obedience from ignorance! Ignorance is not wrong. However, once you have been exposed to knowledge and you reject the truth, this is sin. c. Jesus learned from every situation He encountered. He was perfected from every situation. d. The only thing that is going to help us to not fall into deception is to look at Jesus and learn the way He dealt with imperfection. e. A leader does not need to be all knowing in order to lead. He doesn’t need to be perfect in knowledge. He needs to have the humility necessary to learn from his imperfections! f. Jesus chose to become flesh and blood for a complete identification with us (you and I). This is love, that the perfect God (perfect in every aspect) would give up everything to show men that it is possible to conquer limitations by submitting totally to Him who created us in the first place! Our hearts must love the lost! We cannot be like the Pharisees who loved the law but not the people. g. Jesus knew the way man was created; He told lots of stories (parables). People love stories! h. Jesus never said, “Go, repeat everything I said in my exact words”. Rather, He said, “Go, preach the Gospel” (in your own way of communication). i. Jesus established a pattern according to the Jewish culture: He lived like one, celebrated their feasts, and talked about the issues that concerned Jewish traditions and culture.

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Jesus Style Communication Notes: j. Jesus was a servant of people! God also maintained the direction and control of history. 8. If we want to effectively reach the world with the truth of the gospel we must always consider: a. Attack always produces a reaction of defense (a consequence of the fall - for protection). b. A philosophy is not destroyed by being proved wrong, but rather by being proved foolish. 9. Jesus understood what the human race was made of; He saw the sufferings, temptations, and the ignorance of people about God. He ministered to those needs in people’s lives! a. Need for entertainment. Jesus understood that, in many occasions, we much prefer to go to a football game than to go to church. b. He knew that people need help understanding the message! He spoke to us in parables. c. He knew that people are at different levels of readiness to receive the message! He was creative at finding out at what level people found themselves. C. Provocative. 1. By using this method, Jesus discovered those who were truly asking, seeking and knocking. He went fishing for the hungry fish. 2. Difference between provocation and manipulation: provocation is to calculate your communication for the purpose of full disclosure and hopefully whet the appetite of your audience to come back for more. Manipulation is to calculate your communication for the purpose of deception (I don’t want you to know what I am really talking about). 3. Get their interest even if they don’t have any. D. Challenging. Talk about the cost of following Christ. Find out where they see themselves and what they can change. 1. People are made to take challenges and risks. 2. People don’t always know they need Jesus. They know everything around them is a mess, but they are not aware of their own selfishness.

VIII. Compassion and communication. A. We must be very concerned with the needs of the people! Basic needs: food, safety, freedom, belonging, esteem, and destiny. B. It’s very important to know how the audience views you as a communicator!


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Jesus Style Communication C. People have pre-conceptions! Ex: “Please hear me, not as a Hispanic, American, or European, but as an individual”. D. Preconceived ideas do not let us listen to a person as an individual, but as a boxed-in group of people. Address every group within the culture as individuals. IX. Anything that brings a person closer to listening and understanding the purpose of the message is successful communication. A. Not everyone is just one step away from being converted. B. Don’t turn the urgency for the lost into an urgency for your strategy.

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Communicating with the MTV Generation Lectures on Effective Communication by Winkie Pratney LECTURE 1 One of the biggest challenges facing Christian communicators today is that of getting and holding an audience. If we want to reach people effectively with the Gospel, we must consider our audience. At the same time, we have to know how God wants us to reach them. We must be able to tell them something which will change their lives forever. To do this, we must make the communication principle, Aknow your audience secondary to knowing the heart of God for them”. If God gives us an audience, we must not become addicted to its approval. John the Baptist spoke the truth in love. God wants that from us. We must be real (transparent) in order to have power with God in people’s lives. John the Baptist never gave people invitations. He gave commands. He said, “Repent!”. The Gospel is not an invitation (Acts 17:30, Lk 13:1-5). Jesus did likewise. “Zaccheus, hurry and come down [out of that tree], I must eat lunch at your house today”. What do you suppose Mrs. Zaccheus thought? Or how many mothers do you think would have let their daughter date John the Baptist? It’s not socially popular to be Areal”, but it is the only way to gain the respect to be heard. God is a God of truth, and as such He requires that we be real. This realness is also known as integrity. Your audience must see it in you if they are to take you seriously. What do they see in you? Jesus died to make you holy and happy, but you will never be truly happy until you are first holy. The Kingdom of God is not for sale, so don’t present it as a commodity. Salespeople rely on their own abilities to persuade. While we need to develop our skills in persuading people that the Gospel is the most intelligent (most valuable) choice for their life, no true conversion can take place without the persuasions of the Holy Spirit. We must preach what He tells us to. Ezekiel 37 Ezekiel is narrating his vision: A strange thing happened to me. God set me over a valley of dry bones, and asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” Maybe it’s a trick question. If I say yes, it will be presumption, but if I say no, it will be unbelief. How did all these people die, anyway? 16

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Communicating with the MTV Generation

Notes: Could it be that they were dropped from a very high place? What will happen to me if I get the answer wrong? So I replied, Lord, you know. Then God told me to prophesy to the bones. When I obeyed His voice, the bones began to come together, fleshed out and lived! This is a picture of what can happen when we listen to what God is telling us to speak and we obey. It’s a picture of what has happened in the church (revival) and will happen again if we speak the things He tells us to when He gives us an audience. William Barclay stated, “There has never been a time when it has been more difficult to be a Christian, and there has never been a time when it was more necessary.”


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LECTURE 2 Notes: A Look at Four Decades The Radical 60's A. People became very individualistic. 1. Frog + princess= kiss = handsome prince. We call this a fairy tale. Frog + 10 billion years = handsome prince. We call this science. Time + Matter + Chance = Man How can three impersonal elements = personal man? Behaviorist B.F. Skinner said that we are only molecules. What is the value and purpose of this course if there is no value and purpose? 2. They abandoned thinking for feeling. Rationalism is out: existentialism is in. B. First generation to grow up without the knowledge of a future potential. C. The church was characterized by emphasis on mystical, experiential (subjective) “spirituality� lacking a basis in reason and objectivity. The Therapeutic 70's A. Community: self-help, looking out for number one. 1. Secular 2. Church

a. Self acceptance b. Family and Marriage seminars 3. Reform in the Church: back to Scripture The Militant, Apocalyptic 80's The Nervous 90's Pessimism, depression Satanism is the #1 problem


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Notes: The Audience of the Nineties: The 90's are out of optimism; clothing styles are gloomy. The audience needs a sense of family and destiny. Means of maintaining the attention of the audience: T-shirts, bumper stickers, movement, singing, noises, expressions, graphics, illustrations that are personal and identifying, colorful terms, hyperbole, creative and up-todate with this generation rhetorical questions: “Have you ever dreamed of flying?�


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Communicating with the MTV Generation

LECTURE 3 Kids aren’t worse today; they’re just as good or bad as they ever were. Kids are different today because of: 1. Media exposure. 2. In-depth experience. Kids are more visually sophisticated than any other generation. “When I was your age...” bears little relevance. Grandparents were never “the age” of this generation. This generation is the first generation growing up with total media exposure. The media itself (TV, not what is on TV) has taught kids to live in the in-depth experience--sampling. Picture thinking. Deductive, inductive. Short attention span. Communicating to a 90's audience How you use your opening 30 seconds will make or break your chance of getting through to your audience.  Pulpits were made for better visibility and better sound projection. Today you have PA (public address) systems. Don’t holler at the people.  Television is one-on-one.  Get with your audience. Remove the Adistance barrier” between you and them. Remove the “impersonalness” barrier.  One of kids’ favorite words is “boring” because they have a limited attention span.  All great street preachers have one-liners. Think of a subject and summarize it to a sentence.  Keep interest by shifting and moving all the time. Also keep shifting what you are saying. Don’t explain it, just say it and go on. Keep them thinking all the time.  It’s about time you think that immorality is wrong.  Speakers speak to an audience, but we need to speak with the audience. TV is one on one; it is not yelling and screaming.  People remember stories.  Questions inspire people to think.

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The Sermon on the Mount  19 questions.  348 images or pictures.  320 times Jesus said “you”, not “someone out there”.  65% of the verbs are in the present tense.  30% of the verbs are in the future tense.  5% are in the past tense. Two important books on speaking: How to Speak to Youth by Ken Davis Inductive Preaching by Greg Lewis    

Use MTV editing technique: FAST PACE. Be a good story teller. Ask lots of questions. Do all you can do to involve people. Disconnect from the microphone. Go out of the room move around.  Keep interest by keeping people guessing. Leave things unexplained which people can figure out when they think about it.  Be natural; move about with a lapel microphone.

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LECTURE 4 Notes: The Lord’s bondservant must not be quarrelsome, but kind to all, apt to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition. (2 Tim 2:24-25) “To this one will I look; to him that is humble” Don’t give the impression that you know it all; don’t comment on or react to others’ wrong views and they won’t get the impression that you are putting them down. DEDUCTIVE: reasoning from presupposition to conclusion. INDUCTIVE: reasoning from the evidences to presupposition. UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF VOICE INFLECTION. When George Whitfield preached, he was very dramatic. Two criticisms made against Charles Finney: 1. He doesn’t look like a preacher. 2. He doesn’t preach; he just explains. DIVINE ORDER OF TRUTH 1. REVELATION - God says it: spirit, attitude. 2. PRACTICAL SERVICE - We do it: fruit, character. 3. ILLUMINATION - God explains it, maybe: doctrine, content. Getting an audience requires the right attitude on our part. The first thing an audience picks up on is our attitude. An example is Bill Cosby; he exemplifies attitude and character: family, smart, committed, funny. The result: the highest paid entertainer. People evaluate in their mind: “Do I want to listen to this person and learn from him?” What are miracles? They are God’s MTV. Visions and dreams are the language of the Holy Spirit. In preaching, pray for three things: 1. That God will bring conviction: your audience must have the awareness that what you say is from God. 2. That I will have compassion: that the audience knows you care for them. 3. That I will have communication: the gift have keeping an audience. In preaching it is not wrong to be real (to be yourself). Don’t be afraid to be like Jesus: simple, real, child-like. Speak so children and average people can understand. Represent God to your audience. Represent your audience to God.


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Notes: Three ways to research ideas: 1. Personal: spend lots of time with your audience. Watch out that concern does not turn to bitterness. When you see how wrong things are, don’t yell at the people. Sit with those you’re concerned for. Spend time with the hurting people; it modifies how you communicate the truth they need to hear. 2. Practical: a. Spend time studying to understand the pressures and influences which shape their culture. A missionary must understand the people he is called to. b. Increase your sensitivity to what you’re exposed to, without necessarily increasing your exposure. Where ever you are, be sensitive to what is around you. c. Think like a prophet: know what is contrary to the Biblical norm. d. Think like an evangelist: know the basic need which is not being met in your audience. e. E.T. -- a demon possessed turtle -- is a demonic counterfeit who is patterned after the life of Jesus. His mother is called Mary; he has no father. His finger touches with Elliot like God and Adam’s in Michelangelo’s. He dies, comes back to life, and returns. f. Take a block of time each week, go to a record shop and find out what is presently hot. Read magazines. READ, READ, READ! John Wesley wouldn’t let a person become a Methodist preacher unless he read three books a week. g. THEN WRITE! If you don’t keep up with your audience, your audience will pass you by. 3. Philosophical: find out what people are into.


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LECTURE 5 Notes: Collect ideas by reading. Be a pack rat. Study everything. The amount of time we study reflects the intensity of our desire to reach people more effectively. Collect articles and such and file them in big envelopes. Develop your ability to write summaries of material. Study material which helps you to think and write logically. Learn how to express big ideas with small words. Boil down the whole content of your message to one sentence. Illustrate your message. When you review, use different words and different illustrations. Illustrate of real and common life. Two ways to improve your communication skills: 1. Teach a Sunday school of little kids. 2. Preach in street meetings. Quips: AWhere did Cain get his wife?” “I don’t know; I’ll ask him when I get to heaven.” “Suppose he’s not in heaven?” “Then you can ask him.” Get rid of religious language. Identify the dynamic equivalent. “‘Fundamental’ doesn’t mean too little fun, too much damn, and too little mental.” Growth goes through three stages: 1. Parrot age: repeats everything 2. Pert age: if two cats sat on a log and one jumped off, how many are left? None. The other was a “copycat.” 3. Poet age: “the escalating clouds below the celestial sky”. In speaking, be real, plain, clear, and simple No great speaker has tried to be original. Deny yourself. Give away yourself. Don’t try to be trendy, just be real. Take time and expend the energy to work on your message.


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YOU MUST EARN THE RIGHT TO BE HEARD!!! What did Winkie do while he presented his message?  He jumped suddenly and made fun of it.  He mimicked a TV commercial.  He related collecting everything to eating (we eat more than one kind of food daily).  He drew an abstract picture to illustrate his statement.  He used different voice inflections and tone of voice to make it interesting to listen to.  He moves around a lot.  He talks very clearly.  He is very well-organized.  He uses many illustrations.  He rapidly changes from being funny to being serious at the right time.  He imitated what kids look like when they’re bored.  He showed a picture of the man ABig Chick”.  He used enthusiasm, spontaneity, and variety.

Notes:


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Communicating with the MTV Generation

LECTURE 6 EARN THE RIGHT TO BE HEARD. Notes: The communication challenge we have today is not only what we teach, but it is also whether or not audience is willing to listen to us. Break the images of what they expect. Jesus came: 1. To do only the will of the Father. 2. In order to seek and save that which is lost. 3. In order to destroy the works of the devil. When we get an opportunity to share with people, we should share with them what they NEED to hear. In the process of getting an audience, DON’T DILUTE THE MESSAGE. People want us to tell the truth (it’s just that they want to kill us after we do). We must tell people that they need to die, and that we are going to help them. In analyzing the ministry of men of history: 1. Look first to see what their long term results were. 2. Look at the content of their message. William Booth prophesied that the 20th century would teach a faith without repentance and a Christianity without Christ. In speaking, work from God’s rights, not human needs. 1. God has a right to our lives. Confront Secular Humanism. Man is not the center of the universe. We are thieves if we do not give God our lives, because we belong to Him. YOU STOLE YOUR LIFE FROM GOD. IT BELONGS TO HIM; GIVE IT BACK. It is not what Jesus can do for you, it is WHO HE IS. The kingdom of God is like a treasure hidden in a field. A man sells everything he has in order to buy that field. The treasure in the field is worth more than the price of the field. Jesus is the way (the truth). It’s silly to not give him our lives. His right is based on His value (intrinsic value obligates) and His qualifications to direct our lives (value + competence + disposition = right to rule). God is more qualified to direct our lives because He is smarter and more good. He knows more, and He loves more. 2. SALVATION = LORDSHIP. “Unless you forsake all you have, you cannot be my disciple.” Jesus is not the white wall tires, the vinyl top; He is the engine, the steering wheel (from The Gospel According to Jesus, by John McArthur).


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Communicating with the MTV Generation

Notes: EX: if a vacuum cleaner salesman sells vacuum cleaners for only $1 each, the company simply won’t stand behind that salesman. A firm can’t authorize a sale unless it is the right price. One day we will stand before Jesus, and He will judge whether we have built the kingdom of God or simply gathered wood, hay, and stubble. THE GREATEST DANGER IN THE WORLD IS EVANGELICAL HUMANISM. Jesus is not on trial; you are. Jesus was on trial 2000 years ago; now it is your turn. 3. The purpose of man is to live in love relationship with God and his fellow man. Confront Secular Humanism. The end of all being is NOT the happiness of man. A chimpanzee has never said, “Am I my keeper’s brother?” The greatest thrill of existence is to become like the great God whom we adore. The more we spend time with Him, the more we will become like Him. 4. Love is a choice, not a feeling. Sometimes I wake up and feel unmarried. 5. Man is guilty, not just helpless. Adam blamed Eve. Eve blamed the snake. The snake... If your Dad was a drunkard and you become one, you did it because you wanted to. While Moses was on the mountain receiving the commandments, the Israelites made a golden calf. Aaron explains, “We put in this gold and there cometh out this calf” (e-v-ol-u-t-i-o-n). SECULAR HUMANIST = EVANGELICAL HUMANIST = SINNER = ME FIRST. The danger today is salvation without repentance; religion without God. One man wanted to kill himself. “Yes, you need to die. I’ll show you how. You should die. You ought to die. In fact, I know somebody who will take care of you properly. But if you die the way you are now, you will be stuck with your ugliness forever. You need to be born again; you need a fresh start -- to begin life all over again. You need to be a new creation in Christ Jesus. When you die your heart will go to where it belongs. 6. The gospel works by trust and love; legalism works by threat and bribe (fear of punishment and hope of reward). FRAKENSTEIN or SANTA CLAUS? What do you need? Happiness and healing. “Are your hands sore from pulling those big heavy nets? I understand. Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”


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Communicating with the MTV Generation

The gospel focuses on the internal; on the reason why. Legalism focuses on the external; on what technical procedure gets me off the hook (for example, circumcision). Trust God because He’s wise. Obey God because He’s good. 7. Holiness is not an option. A bus driver deliberately gave an evangelist too much change to see if he lived what he believed. The Pharisees said some things that were true, but they didn’t live it. You will know them by their fruit; by their long term character. People need to die. They need to become like children; to be reborn; to start all over again. Jesus gives you that chance. Your past is forgiven. HOW DO I STAY FRESH IN SHARING THE SAME TRUTH? 1. Be childlike; play with the idea. Make it fun. 2. Don’t get too religious. 3. Have an interest in everything. Relate Christianity to all of life. Seek ways to extend the kingdom into every sphere of life. 4. Don’t be afraid to be a fool or an idiot in the eyes of other people, but don’t BE a fool or an idiot. Of Jesus, it was said “he is beside himself”; of Paul, “much learning hath made thee mad”. 5. Don’t be afraid to be radical! 6. The amount that a person uses his imagination will be INVERSELY proportional to the amount of punishment he receives for using it. 7. Make sure people see your eyes. 8. Stay ahead of the crowd by listening to God. BUMPER STICKERS: Judgment happens Live so the preacher won’t have to lie at your funeral. If God is your co-pilot, move over. Those who seek God at the 11th hour, die at 10:30. In case of nuclear attack, prayer will be restored to the public school.

Notes:


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Communicating with the MTV Generation

Notes: COMMUNICATION PROCEDURES: 1. For every statement, Winkie gives an illustration. 2. Great use of his body movements and voice. 3. Every time he tells a story, he gets into it; he acts. He demonstrates with his arms and facial expressions. 4. Even when he speaks about serious things, he mixes it with a sense of humor. 5. He exaggerates words. EX: S E C U L A R H U M A N I S M. By just doing that, he broke the monotony. 6. He makes it exciting to hear his message. 7, He uses visual material: pictures, postures, newspapers, bumper stickers. 8. God’s right to our life. Illustration: the dentist’s right to fix your tooth. 9. He makes funny drawings on the blackboard. EX: the 2 dresses for sale. 10. He mixes a variety of methods together. 11. He becomes serious to emphasize the statements of Jesus. 12. He brings listeners to a state of reflection because of the honesty coming through from his heart. 13. He challenges his listeners to think.


Sample Critique of a message given by Winkie Pratney TITLE  It was pertinent to the message, interesting, and brief. INTRODUCTION  He prepared the minds of his listeners, secured their interests, held their good will through the use of illustrations, humor, and curiosity: "Who done it?"  It was brief, interesting, and ended with the proposition.  The story of inoculation was perfect (using cowpox as a substitute for the real thing), and funny: "evidently the body doesn't know the difference between 'cow' and 'small'". PROPOSITION  "The scriptures teach that some religious people are enemies of God." "It is possible to be religious without loving Jesus."  The course of the sermon is clearly indicated to the listeners. It was stated in a succinct and forceful sentence, asserted as a vital truth, was specific, and was given at the end of the introduction. ENUNCIATION  Clear, distinct, good modulation; he spoke with authority because he had heard from God, and was speaking under the unction of the Holy Spirit. ORGANIZATION  Explicitly states his divisions; identifies each.  "Secondly": let's you know he is moving on.  "Three other quick things": tells you he is moving on again, keeps your attention focused. Also lets you know he is summarizing and is being pressed with his time limit.  He backs up his proposition with a very funny story that leads right back to the seriousness of what he's saying.  His transitions between points are smooth.  He precedes each transition with a good, funny, attention-getting story, and then *BOOM*, another point.  The theme of the message is carried along with beautiful illustrations. IDENTIFICATION  His prayer at the beginning: "People are hurting, frustrated, etc." He holds out hope right there.  Builds closeness with the audience by sharing about himself: vaccination episode, getting saved, about his Dad: “I inherited nothing”.  Presents his content about Judas in such a way that people can identify with him. He presents truth in consideration of the audience to whom he is speaking; a determined, goal-oriented, American audience knows that Winkie is preaching the main divisions of the sermon to them. He makes his points clearly, forcefully, and with enough contemporary illustrations so that everyone will clearly see any resemblance their lives or motives have with Judas. At the same time the sense of destiny and hope comes through (even Judas could have sat on one of the twelve thrones).  Use of contrasts between the ordinariness of the other disciples and Judas (who is presented as the Madison Avenue type, but with a tremendous longing to belong [to be one of them]).  His powerful use of "unlike Judas" contrasts at the end. AFFECTIVENESS  At least 100 people immediately responded.

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SPEAKER'S HUMILITY, PERSONALNESS, GENTLENESS  Humility evidenced by his openness about himself; willingness to joke about himself (“I inherited nothing from my father”…“athletic ability”).  He speaks a hard message but is still not condescending to the audience.  He lets you know him; he is honest.  You can really tell that he cares about you when he's speaking because he really does. REFLECTION AND INTERACTION WITH AUDIENCE  He had his audience thinking, "Am I like Judas?"  Interaction accomplished through questions: - Do you have a sense of an on-going destiny? - Why am I saved? - Do you want to change the world? - What is a disciple without discipline, an ‘iple’? - Is Jesus your Lord, or are you trying to manipulate Jesus to get what you want? - Do you take responsibility for your actions? - How about you? HUMOR  Use of exaggeration and over emphasis: - "Hand weighed eight million pounds". - "The lump under my arm was the size of a basketball".  Imagination: - "the body doesn't know the difference between 'cow' and 'small'" - "Peter attacks the only guy who doesn't have a sword."  Contemporary comparisons: - Jesus buying a fish burger at McDonalds to feed the 5000. - Use of the human predicament. - Peter looking away when Jesus is dipping the sop, hoping that he won't notice if Jesus offers it to him.  Humor not just used one time but used appropriately throughout the message. SPONTANEITY  Enthusiasm and variety; he has put himself totally into the presentation in a genuine, authenticate way. DRAMATIZATION/EMPHASIS  Compares us to Judas and how Judas all but came back to Jesus. Dramatizes Judas' fantasy of him and Jesus taking over the world. REVIEW/RESTATEMENT  He states his main points in various ways and later uses the disciples and Judas as an example of the religious one far from God. APPLICATION  Not just saved for the end but keeps you challenged to apply all the way through (“you need discipline”).  He makes the seriousness and weight of response clear: - "That awful day of exposure will come." - "Some of you are not free tonight because you won't take responsibility for your actions. - "There is a limb with a rope on it and it has your name on it. - BUT, "God never says, who cares?"  He called for immediate, appropriate action in a real and genuine way, not in a stereotyped 'spiritual' way.  Used humor and illustration even in the story of the church boy being challenged to sign a statement to be read at his funeral.  He used imagination in a way that made the scenes and characters of the Bible seem alive today.

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Speech Evaluation Form Name:______________________________________

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RICK WARREN on Preaching

Preaching Magazine Interview

Few pastors have become more influential in shaping church life today than Rick Warren, founding pastor of Saddleback Community Church in Southern California's Orange County. Under his leadership, the church grew from the Warren family alone to regular worship attendance of more than 15,000 each weekend. Warren has taken the insights he learned at Saddleback and shared them in the book The Purpose-Driven Church, which has become one of the most popular Christian books of recent years. Warren is now a member of the Board of Contributing Editors of HYPERLINK "http://www.preaching.com/preaching/"Preaching magazine, and recently I visited Rick's office to talk about the role preaching has played in the life and growth of Saddleback. Preaching: Rick, we were just looking at some examples of The Purpose Driven Church - twenty-one languages, a million copies, it is just an incredible story. Where does preaching fit into that whole Purpose Driven matrix? Warren: The bigger the church gets the more important the pulpit becomes because it is the rudder of the ship. Where else do you get an hour of undivided attention with all these people on a weekly basis? Yet, I find most pastors do not understand the power of preaching. But even more important than that is they don't understand the purpose of preaching. I probably have the largest library of books on preaching in America. I've read over 500 books on preaching. Maybe some seminary might come close to that, but I am sure that no pastor comes close to 500 books on preaching. And as I've read them, the vast majority doesn't really understand that preaching is about transformation, not information. So to understand the purpose of preaching, first you have to go back and look at a few things. What is the purpose of God for man, and what is the purpose of God for the Bible? Because once you understand those two things, your purpose for preaching becomes very clear. What is the purpose of God for man? Well, the Bible tells us in Romans 8:29, "For those he foreknew he did predestine to become conformed to the image of his Son." God's purpose from the very beginning of time has been to make us like Jesus. In Genesis there was the fall — Jesus came to restore what was there before. So the goal of all preaching has to be to produce Christ-likeness in an individual. Is that person becoming more and more like Jesus? Now, what is the purpose of the Bible? Well, it says in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 33


that the man of God may be thoroughly furnished unto every good work." But people misread that verse most of the time. The purpose of the Bible is not for doctrine, not for reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness. Those are all "for this" in the Greek. ‘For this ... for this ... for this ... in order that.' The purpose is in order that. So doctrine in itself is not the purpose of the Bible. Reproof in itself is not the purpose – correction or training is not the purpose. The bottom line is to change lives: "That the man of God may be thoroughly furnished unto every good work." So every message must be preaching for life change. I hear people talk about ‘life application' as a genre or type of preaching. Yet, I say if you're not preaching life application, then you're not really preaching. It may be a lecture; it may be a study; it may even be a commentary, but it is not preaching. To me preaching is for life change. I am not the master of this. Don't make John the Baptist your model. Don't make John MacArthur your model. Don't make Rick Warren, or Spurgeon, or Calvin or anybody your model. Make Jesus your model. In my two-day seminar on preaching, I just keep coming back to, ‘Now let's see how Jesus did it. Now, look how Jesus did it.' You take the greatest sermon in the world — which is the Sermon on the Mount — and He starts off, ‘Let me tell you eight ways to be happy.' Happy are you if you do this ... You are happy if you do this. Then He talks about anger: don't get angry. He talks about divorce: don't divorce. He talks about worry — let me give you four reasons why not to worry: it's unreasonable; it's unnatural. He talks about all of these practical things and then He says, ‘Now, if you put this into practice you are a wise man. If you don't, you are a fool and you're building a house on a rock." The Bible says the Pharisees were amazed because Jesus preached as one having authority. His sermon is 100% application. My model is not anything, but following Jesus. My goal when I preach is not to inform; it is to transform. Unless you understand that, your messages tend to be based on the traditional style of teaching. Preaching: How do you think through this whole issue of application as you are dealing with the text or the biblical theme? Walk me through that process as you think through how this applies to the lives of people. Warren: The big thing is building a bridge between then and now. You have interpretation on one side, you have personalization on the other side, and in the middle you have the implication. The key is always finding the implication of the text. The interpretation — commentators tend to live in that world. Personalization — communicators tend to live in this world. It's a fine line and you can fall off on either side. It is easy to be biblical without being contemporary or 34


relevant. It is easy to be relevant without being biblical. The test is right there in the middle, walking that fine line. We don't have to make the bible relevant — it is — but we have to show its relevance. What is irrelevant, in my opinion, is our style of communicating it. We are tending to still use the style from 50 years back that doesn't match who we are trying to reach today. 
 When I start with an application, I first start with personal application. Nearly 20 years ago, I wrote a book on Personal Bible Study Methods - on how to apply the Bible. It sold a couple hundred thousand copies. In fact, Billy Graham picked it up and gave it to every evangelist in Amsterdam. In the book I talk about a dozen different ways to apply scripture so you start with your own life and you make applications there. A lot of it is just simple stuff like: is there a sin to confess, a promise to claim, an attitude to change, a command to obey, an example to follow, a prayer to pray, an error to avoid, the truth to believe. Is there something to praise God for? So, I start looking at it like that. I also go back to the paradigm of 2 Timothy 3:16. Doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness is basically these four things: - 1. What do I need to believe as a result of this text? - 2. What do I NOT need to believe as a result of this text? - 3. What do I need to do as a result of this text? - 4. What do I need to NOT do as a result of this text? That is doctrine for reproof, for correction and instruction of righteousness. So, I use that format. Start with personal application, and then you go for the implication — what people need in their lives. The biggest thing that I would say about application is that every pastor eventually gets to application. I'm just saying he needs to start with it, not end with it. A lot of guys need to start where they end their sermon. They will do about 80 to 90% explanation and interpretation in background study, and then at the end there is a little 10-minute application. Now, that is OK if you have a highly motivated group of people who just love Bible knowledge. But the Bible says there are a couple of problems with Bible knowledge. In the first place it says that knowledge puffs up but love builds up, and the Bible says that increased knowledge without application leads to pride. Some of the most cantankerous Christians that I know are veritable storehouses of Bible knowledge, but they have not applied it. They can give you facts and quotes, and they can argue doctrine. But they're angry they are very ugly people. The Bible says that knowledge without application increases judgment. To him that knows to do good and does it not, it is sin. So, really, to give people knowledge and not get the application is a very dangerous thing. Here is an interesting thing - if you look at the Bible and start taking the books of the New Testament, you might be surprise to find out how much of the Bible is application. It will really change the way you preach. 35


For instance, I once preached through the book of Romans for two-and-a-half years, verse by verse. And, by the way, I do both verse-with-verse exposition — which I call topical exposition — and I do verseby-verse exposition, which is book-by-book. Two kinds of teaching for two different targets and two different purposes, and they are both needed for a healthy church. To say you only need one, I think is ridiculous. One is far more effective for evangelism and one is far more effective for edification. So, I once taught through the book of Romans verse-by-verse. Most pastors would agree that Romans is the most doctrinal book in the New Testament, yet how much of Romans is really application? This is what I found: Chapter One: doctrine Chapter Two: doctrine Chapter Three: doctrine Chapter Four: doctrine Chapter Five: doctrine Chapter Six: application Chapter Seven: application Chapter Eight: application Chapter Nine: doctrine Chapter Ten: doctrine Chapter Eleven: doctrine Chapter Twelve: application Chapter Thirteen: application Chapter Fourteen: application Chapter Fifteen: application Chapter Sixteen: application. So you have a book of 16 chapters and fifty-percent is application - the most doctrinal book of the Bible and half its chapters off ‘life application.' Then you go to Ephesians - half of the book is doctrine, half is application. Colossians – the first half of the book is doctrine, the second half is application – fifty-percent. You get to a book like James – 100 percent application! Proverbs - 100 % application. The Sermon on the Mount - 100 % application. So my cry is: pastors just do more of it. You already know that you've got to get people to apply the Bible in their lives; you've just got to offer more application. If that means cutting back on some of the background information, then do it. I think sometimes in our preaching we are far more interested in a lot of the details than our people are. A guy who spends three weeks on one verse is missing the point of the verse. Truthfully. It's like looking at Mona Lisa with a microscope. Every single word - God didn't mean for it to be read that way. A pastor doing that is missing the point. Pastors who say, ‘I don't do topical preaching' but then take an entire two weeks for two verses, what are they doing? They're doing topical preaching. They're just using it as a 36


jumping-off point. Preaching: How much of the sermon should be application versus explanation of the text. Warren: I personally believe 50 percent. I know Bruce Wilkinson once did a study of great preachers. He went back and studied Spurgeon and Moody, Calvin and Finney, both Calvinists and Armenians. Then he studied contemporaries like Charles Stanley and Chuck Swindoll. He discovered that those guys were anywhere from 50 to 60 percent - some at 70 percent application. What we normally do in a structure of a message is that we do interpretation and then application of a point, then the next interpretation and the next application, the next interpretation and the next application. I am suggesting that if you want to reach pagans, you actually just reverse that procedure. You still get both - it's just the way you do it. So, let's say with the Sermon on the Mount, instead of getting up and going through a long background and explanation on worry, I stand up and say, ‘Isn't it a fact of life that we all deal with worry? Well, today we're going to look at six reasons why Jesus said that we shouldn't worry.' Then you make your application the points of your message. People don't remember much. If you're motivated, you remember about seven bits of information; if you're not motivated, you remember about two. So if they're only going to remember something, what do I want them to remember? I want them to remember the application - the lessons - not a cute outline of text. An alliterated outline is not going to change their lives. So I say, make your applications your points because the points are all that they're going to remember. It is more important to be clear than it is to be cute. So I'll say, ‘Here are the three things that you've learned.' Here is the contemporary application - and then underneath it you go back and cover the background. Here is the point - and then you go back and cover the background. It's the exact same thing – it's just the order and what that does is it increases retention, and it increases interest. Now understand that I am pastor of a church in California, where maybe 77 % of the congregation were ‘saved' and baptized at Saddleback. Without question, Saddleback is the most evangelistic church in America. We've baptized 7,800 new believers in the last seven years. No church has ever done that - 1,100 baptisms a year. This year at Easter we set up a 5,000-seat tent, and I preached seven services. We had 33,000 for Easter - which is about a typical number - and we had 2,082 adult professions of faith recorded on cards. That is a crusade! To have 2,000 people saved - well, how does that happen? It happens when your focus is preaching for transformation, for changed lives. Preaching: Tell us about the sermon that you preached on Easter. Warren: I did a message on: I want to know the power of the resurrection. What is the power of the 37


resurrection, Paul wants to know? It is the power to change your life. When I prepare a sermon, I do a little thing called CRAFT, which is a methodology I've developed: C stands for collect and categorize R is research and reflect A is apply and arrange F is fashion and flavor T is to trim and tie it all together. As I go through these things, first I sit down and I start praying. I say, ‘Who is going to be there?' I start to think of one person. When a church gets as large as Saddleback, numbers really are irrelevant. There is no statistical difference between 15,000 on a weekend and 16,000 on a weekend — it's just a big crowd! So what motivates me is not the number; what motivates me is the individual life that is changed. I start thinking about people I know who will are going to be there. People that I have invited - like my back doctor who was an atheist Jew, yet he came for Easter. I start thinking: ‘Now what is going to help this guy know about Christ?' and I go through that little formula and think about the points, which were actually quite simple. Point one of the Easter sermon was open your mind to God's power. I noted that, if your life is going to be changed, it starts with a change in your mind – which, by the way, is the purpose of preaching. Open your mind to the power of God. The second point was open your heart to the grace of God. The third point was open your life to the love of God. We write the verses out, and put them in an outline. I do that for several reasons: First, non-believers don't bring their Bibles to church. Second, even if they did, they might not know how to find the right passages. Third, it saves time. I once clocked a pastor, and he took almost 9 minutes saying, ‘Now turn to this, and turn to this.' I don't have that kind of time. I want all of the time I have for preaching. I preach on an average of 50 to 55-minutes. Most people would think, ‘Well, he's preaching sermonettes for Christianettes' — you know, that kind of stuff. But you preach 50 to 55 minutes, if you understand this model I'm describing. I use about 14 to 16 different verses, and I use different translations. That's another reason I use an outline because I use different translations. Sometimes the New American Standard says it better. Sometimes The New Living Translation says it better. Sometimes the NIV says it better. So I use that. It also allows me to help their retention because I can have the people read scripture aloud together. We probably read more scripture aloud than the average church does because I have it on an outline. I say, 38


‘Now, let's all read this together.' I'll say, ‘Circle that word,' ‘underline that,' ‘star that.' Then they can take it home with them and put it up on the refrigerator, pass it on to friends, or teach a Bible study on it. I'm a firm believer in actually writing out the outline with scriptures written out. If you're in it for life change, it just makes it a whole lot easier for people to use. I actually started the message on Easter like this: I stood up and said, ‘You know, if you're not a particularly religious person, if you don't feel particularly close to God, if you feel pretty disconnected, if you rarely attend church, congratulations! This is your holiday!' Rather than making people feel bad, I'll say, ‘I'm glad you're here. If you're going to go to church at all, I'm glad you came here. And guess what - you don't know what you're in for!' And then I'll say, ‘What is Easter all about? It's an invitation to a changed life. Would you like a changed life? What does it take?' Just right at the start you roll it out — we're here for establishing a relationship with Jesus Christ. We had over a thousand people ‘saved' each of the last four Easters. So it's a great harvest for us every year. Our people bring their friends. Preaching: Are there some particular insights you've gained over the years that help you preach for life change? Warren: There are nine things that really form how I figure a life can change: 1. All behavior is based on belief. If I ask why do you do what you do, it's because you believe something behind it. If somebody gets a divorce, it's because he or she has a belief behind related to the divorce – ‘I think I'll be happier divorced than I will be staying married,' or whatever. If you have sex outside of marriage it's because you have a belief behind supporting that. 2. Behind every sin is a lie of unbelieving. This has profound implications for preaching. When you sin, at that moment, you think you're doing what is best for you. You think you're doing the right thing, but you've been deceived. When your kids do something dumb, at that moment, they think what they're doing is smart, but it's dumb. The Bible tells us that Satan deceives us. 3. Change always starts in the mind. This principle is taught all the way through the New Testament. Romans 12:2, ‘Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.' The Bible teaches very clearly that the way we think affects the way we feel, and the way we feel affects the way we act. Since change starts in the mind - and sin starts with a lie - and behavior starts with belief, then – 4. To help people change; you have to change their beliefs first. You don't work on their behavior; you work on their beliefs because it always starts in their mind. That is why Jesus says, ‘You will know the truth and 39


the truth will set you free.' 5. Trying to change people's behavior without changing their beliefs is a waste of time. The illustration I use is that it's like a boat on autopilot. If I have a boat, and it's in a lake, and it's on auto-pilot, and it's headed north – then when I want it to head south - do a 180 degree turn - I want to do a "repentance" on that boat. I have two options: I can physically grab the steering wheel of the boat and physically force it to turn around, and it will turn around. But the whole time it's turned around, I'll be under tension because I'm forcing it to go against its autopilot. Pretty soon, I'll get tired and I'll let go of the wheel. Meaning, I go back to smoking; I go off of the diet; I stop doing whatever, I go back to my habitual ways of stress relief. Now, the better way is to change the autopilot. The way you change the autopilot is by changing the way you think. And, that brings up repentance. 6. The biblical word for changing your mind is repentance, metanoia. Now, when most people think of the word ‘repentance' they think of someone wearing a sandwich sign, you know, turn or burn, or they think repentance means stopping all their bad actions. That is not what repentance is - there is not a lexicon in the world that will tell you that repentance means stop your bad action. Repentance, metanoia, simply means changing your mind. And we pastors are in the mind-changing business. Preaching is about mind-changing. Society's word for repentance, by the way, is ‘paradigm shift.' Repentance is the ultimate paradigm shift, where I go from darkness to light, from guilt to forgiveness, from no hope to hope, from no purpose to purpose, from living for myself to living for Christ. It's the ultimate paradigm shift. And repentance is changing your mind at the deepest level of beliefs and values. 7. You don't change people's minds, God's word does. So our job is to bring people into contact with God's Word. I can't force people to change their minds. I like I Cor. 2:13; in the New Living version - it says, ‘We speak words given to us by the Spirit using the Spirit's word to explain spiritual truth.' There is both a Word and a Spirit element in preaching, and often we leave out the Spirit element. A lot of preaching today has the Word element, but it doesn't have the Spirit element. We talk about spiritual warfare. I don't think spiritual warfare is like demons. I think the Bible says spiritual warfare is tearing down mental strongholds. Our weapons have power — pulling down every argument, every pretension — check out 2 Cor. 10. By the way, that's why you're exhausted after preaching. If you're trying to pull down strongholds, you're in a mental and spiritual battle that's going to leave you exhausted. After I do five services every weekend, I'm a puddle — there's nothing left! 8. Changing the way I act is the fruit of repentance. Technically, repentance is not a behavioral change; it results in behavioral change. Repentance is what happens in your mind. So it doesn't mean forsaking your sin. That's why John the Baptist says produce fruit in keeping with repentance. Why would you need to produce fruit? Because the fruit is the action. The fruit is the behavior. Paul says in Act 26:20, ‘I preach that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.' OK, so deeds are not repentance. But is that going to change your mind? 9. I believe the deepest kind of preaching - bar none - is preaching for repentance. So, ‘life application' preaching, instead of being ‘shallow' – as some critics charge – is, in my opinion, the deepest kind of preaching. Shallow preaching, to me, is doctrinal application or interpretation with no application — biblical background with no application. For 21 years now, the secret of Saddleback is that every week we get up 40


and we try to take the Word and apply it so that it changes the way the congregation thinks about life, about God, about the devil, about the future, about the past, about themselves, about their mission in life. If you go through the New Testament, you'll find that repentance is the central theme in the New Testament. For instance, in Matthew 3:2, John the Baptist says, ‘Repent for the kingdom of heaven is near.' ‘Jesus began to preach repent,' Matthew 4:17. The disciples went out and preached that people should repent. Peter says, ‘Repent and be baptized every one of you.' Paul says, ‘Now he commands all men to repent everywhere.' John in Revelation says, ‘Repent.' You just go through the New Testament and you'll find the need for repentance. To produce lasting emotional ‘life change,' you have to enlighten the mind, you have to engage the emotions, and you have to challenge the will. Those three things have to be present in ‘life application' preaching. There is a knowing element, there is a feeling element, and there is a doing element. This takes a lot of just being sensitive to the people because sometimes they have to be comforted and sometimes they've got to be challenged. I can often get that wrong, you know. This is one of the big weaknesses in our preaching. I think one of the greatest weaknesses is people who are unwilling to humbly stand before people and challenge their will. A lot of guys are great at interpretation. They are pretty good at application, but they're not really willing to stand there and call for repentance. Now I preach on repentance on every single Sunday without using the word because the word is misused today – it's misunderstood. So I talk about ‘changing your mind' and I talk about a ‘paradigm shift.' But really, every message comes down to two words: Will you? Will you change from this to this in the way that you are thinking? Our culture is falling apart. If you're not preaching repentance in your message, you're not preaching. No matter what we cover it has got to come back to change your mind, because your mind controls your life. Preaching: What you're describing is preaching strategically. A strategic approach requires planning. How do you plan that strategy in terms of what you are going to do in preaching? Warren: I have a preaching team that I meet with. When you start a church, you literally do everything. I set it up, I took it down, and I stored all the stuff in my garage. From the beginning of the church, it was my goal to work myself out of a job. And so as the church grew, I began to give the ministry away to more and more people — to lay people and to staff and on and on. About ten years ago, I realized that I'd finally given up everything that I was doing except two things: the feeding and the leading. I was still doing that myself, and so I began building a staff of other leaders and other feeders. I now have a preaching team of six pastors who share the pastoral teaching and preaching. For instance, I will be preaching 26 of the 52 weeks at Saddleback. Now why is that? 41


Number one, most people have never done five weekend services, and they don't know what a toll it takes on your body, and I want to live a long time. I will preach in one month what some guys will preach in a year just because of multiple services. So, to protect my own health, I did that. But more than that, I believe you need to hear God's word from more than just one personality. I think that is healthy. I think a lot of people, you hear a guy for about six or seven years, and he's shot his wad. You've heard what he's got to say, and you either have to start hearing the same stuff over again or move to a different church. Well, I want people to stay at Saddleback for thirty or forty years, so I've built a team of different preachers with different personalities — I do believe preaching is truth through personality, like Brooks said. It doesn't bother me at all if somebody likes another pastor's preaching better. ‘Well, I like his style.' That's fine; I think that's good. They hear it, and they stay here, and as long as they're growing and happy and are being built on the purposes of moving them out into ministry and mission, I'm happy about it. So - I take the preaching team, and we do planning. I'm a collector of ideas, collecting future sermon series and ideas. There are some series that I've been collecting on for twenty years that I still haven't preached on. For instance, I did a series through Psalm 23 a couple of years ago. I had collected material for over twenty years. I just knew that one day I was going to preach on Psalm 23. So when I get a quiet time insight, when I hear a good sermon or I hear a quote, I throw it in that file. That way, when I get ready to plan a series, I'm not starting from scratch. I have what I call my bucket file. My bucket file is not real organized. It's just stuff tossed in there. Once you get enough to start making a series — you go, ‘I want to do this series on the family, or I want to do this series on I Peter, or I want to do this series on the second coming' — you start the file. Right now I have maybe fifty series in the hopper. Then, as it gets toward the end of the year, I'll pick about a dozen of those that I think, This is where God wants the church to go in the next year, and we – the preaching team – will prayerfully go away on a retreat. We pray and ask, ‘What direction does God want the church to go? What needs to be done?' I'll tell you one of the ways you know what needs to be done: name the five biggest sins in your church. If divorce is a big sin in your church, guess what you're not preaching on. If materialism is a big sin in your church, guess what you're not preaching on. So just by looking at the sins of the people in your church - and in your area - you can come up with a lot of wisdom regarding what sermons to preach. I'll get a dozen or so messages just from doing that. I happen to believe that the audience determines God's will for what you're supposed to preach on. In other words, do I believe in the sovereignty of God? Absolutely. Do I believe in the foreknowledge of God? Absolutely. That means God already knows who is coming next Sunday before I do, and God is already planning on bringing those people next Sunday for you. Why would God - the sovereign - give me a message totally irrelevant to the person He is planning on bringing? He wouldn't. So I start asking, ‘God, who is coming?' If I'm dealing with teenagers, that is one 42


kind of message. If I'm dealing with seekers, then that is another kind of message. If I am dealing with mature believers that is another kind of message. If I am dealing with people who need to be mobilized for ministry – you get the picture. We look at that, and we pray and then we will do a tentative outline of the various sermon series for the year. We try to balance it in several ways. I try to give balance the purposes of the church: fellowship, discipleship, service, evangelism, and worship. I will always do a series, somehow, dealing with worship, a series on evangelism, a series on discipleship, a series on ministry, and a series on fellowship. I will cover those five purposes every year. Now I can do that with a book series, I can do it with a biographical series, I can do it with a topical, thematic approach. It doesn't matter the style, but I will balance the purposes. I will balance the difference between comfort and challenge — afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted — I will balance that. I like to balance Old Testament and New Testament. I like to balance a little biographical, a little didactic, and a little doctrinal. Now, what I love to do is to teach theology to non-believers without ever telling them it is theology and without ever using theological terms. For instance, I once did an eight-week series on sanctification and never used the term. I did a four-week series on the incarnation and never used the term. I did a twelve-week series on the attributes of God — omniscience, omnipresence, omnipotence — and never used the terms. I just called it "Getting to Know God." The preaching team establishes a plan, but then we remain flexible. If I know that I'm going to cover ten to twelve themes in the year, when I finish a series, I then pray, ‘Which one, Lord, do you want to do next?' We will pick the next one out, and then we'll do it next, and then we'll go, ‘Which one, Lord, do you want us to do next?' So there's planning and spontaneity at the same time. It allows for God to move us in the middle of the year. I know some guys - it doesn't matter if it's Christmas, they say, ‘We're going to stay on that book!' To me that's silly - if suddenly America is at war – like after September 11th - does God have a word about it? Absolutely! We would stop, and we would talk about what does the Bible say about war. Preaching: How long is a typical series? Warren: I think the ideal series is four to six weeks. I have often stretched it to ten weeks. Obviously, the Ten Commandments are 10 weeks. I did a 10-week series on the Doctrine of Grace. But really, if you go more than four or six weeks on a series, people start wondering, ‘Does he know anything else?' There is a fatigue factor. One lady said, ‘My pastor has been in Daniel seventy weeks longer than Daniel!' So I think the best series 43


would be a month – a series of four, twelve a year would be ideal. We almost never do that because you get into it, and you want to go another two weeks because there's still more material. Preaching: The last time I was in a Saddleback worship service, you did a "tag team" sermon with one of your preaching team members. That's an example of what you call ‘features' in preaching. Tell us more about that idea. Warren: We now live in a society where the attention span is dramatically reduced. Yet I don't think you can really change a life in a 25-minute message. I think it takes a more significant amount of time. If you're moving a person — trying to change the way they think — you have to lead them through a process that takes more than 10 or 15 or 25 minutes. But in order to hold their attention, what we do is add in what we call features. We have five or six different kind of features: The most common one is the personal testimony. A lot of churches use drama; we honestly don't use that much drama because most of it isn't that good — it looks more like a camp skit. What I found is: why would I use a dramatic fictional story when I have the real-life story of the changed life sitting there in the congregation? We have now had hundreds and hundreds of people give their testimonies — we actually fit them into the message. So this week when I'm preaching on ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit,' I'm looking at a series of testimonies to possibly use. One of them is a woman who came out of prostitution and was ‘saved' here at Saddleback Church. She talks about how she learned that, ‘I was not God, my life was a mess, and I had to give it all up.' I'll fit that five to seven-minute testimony right into one of my points. Rather than use an illustration, I'll say, ‘Now I want you to hear this.' That's one feature — that breaks the sermon up. Another feature is what we call ‘tag-team preaching.' We developed that simply because we're doing five services, and it's pretty tiring to carry that long of a message five times. Five times 55 minutes is a long time! Plus, we've found that a different voice will often help keep the congregation's attention. I'll write the message, but then I'll assign a point to one of my teaching pastors. That often adds a dimension of freshness that helps keep the people listening longer. We've used film clips, we've used some dramas, and we've used some object lessons. One of my favorites is called ‘point and play,' which is separating the points by music. At Easter and Christmas Eve, we do a ‘point and play' message. For example, with my Easter sermon, I took every point and divided them into five sections, and we had a song that went with each point. So there is an emotional punch as well as an intellectual punch. We layer it: tension/release, tension/release. I learned this when I was a consultant on the DreamWorks movie, The Prince of Egypt (to help keep it 44


biblically-based). One day I was in the hall at DreamWorks, and I noticed something on the wall called an ‘Emotional Beat Chart.' They actually monitor the emotional highs and lows of a movie. I counted, and there were nine peaks and nine valleys in this 90-minute movie — about every ten minutes there's tension/release, tension/release. Well, you can do that in a message: you can do it with humor, you can do it with an illustration, or you can do it with a feature, but it allows us to keep people's attention longer in order to give them more material. Preaching: You mentioned earlier the distinction between topical exposition and verse-by-verse. How do you see the difference between those models? Warren: Let me talk to you about the futility of preaching labels. We often hear modifiers used for preaching. We say there is topical and there is textual and there is life situational and there is expository. Frankly, I think that's a big waste of time, and I have given up on trying to label other pastors' sermons, much less my own. The reason is simply that everybody has their own definition, so they're meaningless. Like I said, I've got over 500 books on preaching in my library, and everyone has its own definition. I started a hobby a few years ago of collecting definitions of the term ‘expository preaching.' Right now, I have over 30 definitions of the term, many of them contradictory. In fact, at one well-known seminary, I got three definitions of expository that were contradictory by three preaching professors in the same seminary! I read this quote by Clyde Fant in Twenty Centuries of Great Preaching; it says: ‘It is impossible to define the terms textual, topical and expository. There is no modifier to explain all that God does through preaching or the way that He uses it. The only question that matters is: does the sermon involve itself in the truth of God's word? When it does, you have genuine preaching and all of the modifiers of the term become superfluous. If you use God's word to bring light and change peoples lives, then preaching has occurred regardless of the message used.' Given that, here is my definition of expository preaching, and I think that it's about as valid as anybody else's: ‘When the message is centered around explaining and applying the text of the Bible for life change.' That definition says nothing about the amount of text used and it says nothing about the location of the verses, because I think those are man-made issues. I read frequently we need to get back to the New Testament pattern of verse-by-verse preaching. Well, there's one problem there. There's not a single example in the New Testament of it. You can take one verse where ‘Jesus starting with Moses ....' The fact is Jesus always taught in parables. What do Finney, Wesley, Calvin, Spurgeon, Moody, Billy Graham, Jesus, Peter, and Paul all have in common? None of them were verse-by-verse, through the book, teachers. Not one of them. Now the issue becomes: how much of the text is a text? That's really the issue. How much text is a text? It depends on who you are talking to - If you talk to G. Campbell Morgan, he often uses an entire book of 45


the Bible. If you talk to Alexander Maclaren, he usually preaches on a paragraph. If you talk to Calvin, Calvin's general rule is to use two to four verses almost always — two to four verses. Spurgeon usually chooses an isolated phrase — not even an entire verse, an isolated phrase. Of course, Martyn Lloyd-Jones will often preach on just one word. He has a famous sermon – ‘But God.' I don't think that God cares at all whether you preach ten verses in a row or ten verses from His Word that come from different places, as long as you adequately expose and exposit those verses once you're there. I don't think God cares whether they're in a row or not - as long as you don't use it as a jumping off point. Now the ‘topical' sermon that just takes a verse and doesn't even deal with it and just goes off — of course, that's not preaching. Preaching: Do you vary styles between the weekend and midweek services? Warren: I will do them in both. I used to do only verse-with-verse in our weekend services, and I would do only verse-by-verse in the mid-week service. We've since ‘killed' our mid-week service, taking that teaching and putting it on video — we shows those in our small groups. I recently taught – on video - through the book of James verse-by-verse, and it's going to the 8,000 people we have in small groups. We never could get 8,000 to show up for mid-week, but they're in small groups. So, they turn it on and watch it - and then they turn it off and discuss it and apply it. I've done a number of books on Sunday morning. For instance, we recently went through 1 Peter. We've done Philippians, we've done a Gospel, we've done Proverbs, and I've done Ecclesiastes verse-by-verse. I don't have a hang up with it. It's just when people start saying it's the only way to preach or the apostolic method, I say show me where it is in the Bible. Show me where it is! I'm very opinionated on that! Preaching: What is the biggest mistake that you have made in preaching? Warren: Well, I have made many mistakes. We've done more things that didn't work at Saddleback than things that did work. We're just not afraid to fail. I think the biggest mistake that I made in the first couple of years of my preaching at Saddleback was that I didn't realize the importance of drawing the net. I think drawing the net is essential. I didn't know as much as I do now. Forsyth says that what the world needs today is the authoritative Word of God preached through a humble personality. I think that a combination of confidence and humility goes together. I've learned that the secret of spiritual power is integrity and humility. It's not vision. A lot of people talk about vision being a big thing to grow a church. Visionaries are a dime a dozen. There are a lot of visionaries who aren't growing churches. What God blesses first is integrity, walking with integrity. Walking blameless - that we are exactly what we appear to be. And He blesses humility. Now humility is not denying your strengths; it's being honest about your weaknesses. We're all a bundle of strengths and weaknesses. We all have strengths. We all have weaknesses. Paul could be very obvious about his strengths. He would say, ‘Follow me as I follow Christ.' Because he 46


was also very honest about his weaknesses: ‘I am chief among sinners.' I used to look at Paul and go, ‘Man, I could never say that.' Follow Rick Warren as Rick Warren follows Christ? It seems so arrogant. But then I realized that people learn best by models. At least I am making the effort. I am not perfect, but you know what? I'd rather have people follow me than follow a rock star! I am at least making the effort, and they know what my weaknesses are because I am honest, I am authentic with the people. I do believe in confessional preaching. I believe that you should confess both your strengths and your weaknesses. You don't dwell on yourself but in many ways the minister is the message. The word must become flesh. The best kind of preaching is incarnational preaching. The most effective message is when I am able to get up and say, ‘This is what God is doing in Rick Warren's life this week. This is what I am learning. This is what I need to believe, what I need NOT to believe, what I need to do, what NOT to do." Those four things. There is a ring of authenticity about that. It's interesting that I have a thorn in the flesh that makes preaching extremely painful for me. I was born with a brain disorder, and I took epilepsy medicine through high school. Although I didn't have epilepsy, they gave it to me because they didn't know how else to treat me. And I would faint; I would be walking down the street and just fall over and faint. It's a very complex thing, but I'm under the care of Mayo Clinic. The problem is my brain doesn't assimilate adrenaline correctly. So adrenaline — when it hits my brain — will tend to blind me, will tend to create headaches, dizziness, and confusion. Any pastor knows that adrenaline is your best friend. If you don't have adrenaline, you're probably a boring speaker. You need adrenaline for passion. Yet, the very thing that I need to speak to 5,000 people at one time is the very thing that harms my body. So it's quite painful for me to preach, and I just think it's part of God's design that the guy who He chose to speak to Saddleback is also a guy who is really quite weak. In my weakness, He is strong. Sometimes people might say, ‘Warren, do you ever get full of pride knowing you preached to 32,000 people last week?' I want to answer, ‘If you only knew.' When I am up speaking, that is the last thing on my mind — ‘Oh, how great this is.' My thing is, ‘Oh God, just get me through this.' The reason I do it is because I am addicted to changed lives. That is what motivates me. I love it. I hear pastors say, ‘I love to preach.' I don't love to preach — it's very painful for me to preach, but I love the results of preaching. I love the changed lives. If a guy says, ‘I love to preach,' that never impresses me. He may just be a ham. He may just like the attention. He may just like the adrenaline rush of being on stage. I don't want to know, Do you love preaching? but Do you love the people you preach to? That's the key. If I have not love, I am of sounding 47


brass and tinkling cymbal. I have a short prayer I speak to God before every service at Saddleback. As I get up before the crowd, and I look out there, I say, ‘God, I love these people, and they love me. I love you and you love me and you love these people and many of these people love you. There is no fear in love. Perfect love casts out all fear. This is not an audience to be feared; this is a family to be loved. So love these people through me.' That is the last thing that I think before I get up to speak before every service. It helps me keep a pastor's heart. Preaching: When you get up to preach, what do you carry with you? Warren: I carry, of course, my Bible, my notes, and my outline. Preaching: How extensive are your notes? Warren: A 55-minute messages is four half-pages on one side. I use trigger words and transition words. It's very important that I always write out my closing prayer — word for word — because I find that when I get to the end of the message, I am starting to get fatigued. And when you do a message five times — you say the same thing with passion for five times — your mind just starts shutting down on the fourth or fifth sermon, so you need pretty extensive notes. Now, I could memorize the message and not use notes. To me that seems to be an enormous waste of time, because the amount of time used to memorize it I could be in personal ministry, in leadership, in other things. I don't think that people care that much. God uses all styles. We've got a guy on our staff that is a manuscript preacher, but he delivers it with vitality so he is not just reading it. I do walk around a lot, so I can look at something, and it will keep me going for two to three minutes, but I do use notes. Preaching: In your preparation process, do you develop any kind of manuscript yourself? Warren: No, I don't do a manuscript, partly because I don't want it to sound like a manuscript. It's an oral presentation. Having been both a writer of many books and a preacher, those are two different skills — two totally different skills. The guy who thinks he can take his sermon and just put it into a book, forget it. It is not going to be that good of a book. Because the things that make good oral communication — like repetition, redundancy, coming back to the point — just sound goofy in a book. So I don't want to sound like a book. What I will do is to sit at the computer and talk it out as I type. I am very concerned about how it will sound. This is a big key to a lot of guys who have good content, but they don't know how to turn a phrase. They don't know the power of timing. You know, all over America, baseball pitchers stand the same distance from home plate, throw the same ball to the same plate. The difference between pros and amateurs is delivery. No doubt about it. 48


The difference between a good sermon and an outstanding sermon is delivery. I know this because I preach the same material to five services every week and get different results depending on the delivery. The first message of the weekend is never the best time. You're not as comfortable with the material. You're going to become more and more comfortable. As you say it repeatedly, you're going to become passionate about it and so you learn timing, you learn delays, you learn delivery. Preaching: If you had just one or two words to encourage or recommend to other pastors, what would they be? Warren: One of them is never stop learning. All leaders are learners. The moment you stop learning, you stop leading. Growing churches require growing pastors. The moment you stop growing, your church stops growing. I don't worry about the growth of the church. I never have. In fact, it probably will surprise most people that in 21 years at Saddleback, we've only set two growth goals — and they were both the first year of the church! What I focus on is keeping myself growing and motivated, and if I am on fire, other people will catch it. So you keep growing. And I would encourage young pastors to listen to other pastors. Find a style that is similar to what you think you are and learn from it. It's OK to have models. I remember, in my early days, listening to other pastors. You'll develop your own style eventually. You can't help but be you.

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A Primer on Preaching Like Jesus Part One & Two By Rick Warren

Jesus preaching attracted enormous crowds, and the Bible often records the positive reactions of those crowds to his teaching. Matthew 7:28 - The crowds were amazed at his teaching. Matthew 22:33 (TLB) - The crowds were profoundly impressed. Mark 11:18 (TLB) - People were so enthusiastic about Jesus' teaching. Mark 12:37 (NASB) - The great crowd enjoyed listening to Him. These crowds had never heard anyone speak to them the way Jesus did. They were spellbound by his delivery. To capture the attention of unbelievers like Jesus did, we must communicate spiritual truth the way he did. I believe that Jesus - not anyone else - must be our model for preaching. Unfortunately, some homiletics classes pay more attention to Aristotle and Greek rhetoric than to how Jesus taught. In John 12:49, Jesus admitted, “The Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it”. Notice that both the content AND the delivery style were directed by the Father. This is extremely important to note. We often overlook the manner in which Jesus preached. There’s so much we can learn from Jesus style of communication; not just his content. For now, however, I want to briefly identify three attributes of Jesus preaching.

Part 1 - Jesus Began With Peoples Needs, Hurts, and Interests Jesus usually taught in response to a question or a pressing problem from someone in the crowd. He scratched where people itched. His preaching had immediacy about it. He was always relevant and always on target for that moment. When Jesus preached his first sermon at Nazareth, he read from Isaiah to announce what the preaching agenda of his ministry would be: "The Lord has put his Spirit in me, because he appointed me to tell the Good News to the poor. He has sent me to tell the captives they are free and to tell the blind that they can see again. God sent me to free those who have been treated unfairly and to announce the time when the Lord will show his kindness" (Luke 4:18-19 NCV). Notice his entire emphasis on meeting needs and healing hurts. Jesus had Good News to share, and people wanted to hear it. He had a message that offered practical benefits for their lives. His truth would set people 50


free and bring all sorts of blessings to their lives. Our basic message to the lost must be good news. If it isn’t good news, it isn’t the gospel. We must learn to share the gospel in ways that show it is both good and news. The gospel is about what God has done for us and what we can become in Christ. A personal relationship to Christ is the answer to all of mans deepest needs. The good news offers lost people what they are frantically searching for: forgiveness, freedom, security, purpose, love, acceptance, and strength. It settles our past, assures our future, and gives meaning to today. We have the best news in the world. Crowds always flock to Good News. These days, particularly after September 11th, there is plenty of bad news in the world. The last thing people need to hear is more bad news in church. They’re looking for hope and help and encouragement. Jesus understood this. That’s why he felt so compassionate toward them. He knew that the crowds were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. By beginning with people’s needs when you preach, you immediately gain the attention of your audience. Practically every communicator understands and uses this principle except pastors! Wise teachers know to start with the students’ interests and move them toward the lesson. Effective salesmen know you always start with the customer, not the product. Smart managers know to begin with the employee’s complaint, not their own agenda. You start where people are and move them to where you want them to be. Pick up any textbook on the brain and you’ll learn that at the base of your brain stem is a filter called the Reticular Activating System. God graciously put this filter in our minds so we don’t have to consciously respond to the millions of stimuli that were bombarded with on a daily basis. It continuously sifts and sorts the things you see, hear, and smell--forwarding only a few of those stimuli on to your consciousness. This way you’re not overloaded and overwhelmed. If you had to consciously respond to every stimuli your senses pick up, you’d go crazy! Your Reticular Activating System determines what gets your attention. Now, what does get people’s attention? Three things always make it past your reticular activating system: things you value; things that are unique; and things that threaten you. This has profound implications for the way pastors preach and teach. If you want to capture the attention of an uninterested group of people you must tie your message to one of these three attention-getters. While sharing the Good News in a unique or threatening way can get attention of unbelievers, I believe showing its value to people is most consistent with how Christ taught. Jesus taught in a way that people understood the value and benefit of what he was saying. He didn’t try to threaten unbelievers into the kingdom of God. In fact, his only threats were to religious people! As the cliché goes, he comforted the afflicted and afflicted the comfortable. Because preachers are called to communicate truth, we often mistakenly assume that unbelievers are eager to hear the truth. They aren’t! Unbelievers aren’t that interested in truth these days. In fact, surveys show that the majority of Americans reject the idea of absolute truth. 51


This is the source of all the problems in our society. People don’t value truth. Today people value tolerance more than truth. People complain about crime, drug abuse, the breakup of the family, and other problems of our culture, but they don’t realize the cause of it all is their rejection of truth. Moral relativism is the root of what is wrong in our society, but it is a big mistake for us to think that unbelievers will race to church if we just proclaim, “We have the truth!” Their reaction will more likely be, “Yeah, so does everybody else!” Proclaimers of truth don’t get much attention in a society that devalues truth. To overcome this, some preachers try to yell it like it is. But preaching louder isn’t the solution to this apathy. It starts by being wise as serpents and harmless as doves. While most unbelievers aren’t looking for truth, they are looking for relief. This gives us the opportunity to interest them in truth. I’ve found that when I teach the truth that relieves their pain or solves their problem, unbelievers say, “Thanks! What else is true in that book?” Sharing biblical principles that meet a need creates a hunger for more truth. Jesus understood this. Very few of the people who came to Jesus were looking for truth. They were looking for relief. So Jesus would meet their felt needs, whether leprosy, blindness, or a bent back. After their felt needs were met, they were always anxious to know the truth about this man. He had helped them with a problem they couldn’t solve. Ephesians 4:29 says, “...[speak] only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Notice that who we are speaking to determines what we are to say (this has nothing to do with compromising the message and everything to do with understanding the needs of your listeners). The needs of those listening decide the content of our message. We are to speak ONLY what benefits those we are speaking to. If this is Gods will for our conversations, it must also be Gods will for our sermons. Unfortunately, it seems that many pastors determine the content of their messages by what they feel they need to say rather than what the people need to hear. One reason sermon study is so difficult for many pastors is because they ask the wrong question. Instead of asking, “What shall I preach on this Sunday?”, they should instead ask, “To whom will I be preaching?” Simply thinking through the needs of the audience will help determine God’s will for the message. Since God, in his foreknowledge, already knows who will be attending your services next Sunday, why would He give you a message totally irrelevant to the needs of those He is intending to bring? Why would He have me preach on something unhelpful to those He’s planned to hear it? I believe that people’s immediate needs are a key to where God would have me begin speaking at that particular occasion. What I’m trying to say is this: The crowd does not determine whether or not you speak the truth. The truth is not optional. But your audience does determine which truths you choose to speak about. To unbelievers, some truths are more relevant than others.

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Can something be both true and irrelevant? Certainly! If you’d been in a car accident and were bleeding to death in the Emergency Room, how would you feel if the doctor came in and wanted to talk about the Greek word for hospital or the history of the stethoscope? All he said to you could be true but irrelevant because it doesn’t stop your hurt. You would want the doctor to begin with your pain. Your audience also determines how you start your message. If you are speaking to the unchurched - and you spend the first part of the message on historical background - by the time you get to the personal application you’ll have already lost your audience. When speaking to the unbelievers, you need to begin where your sermons normally end up! Today preaching to felt needs is scorned and criticized in some circles as a cheapening of the gospel and a sell-out to consumerism. I want to state this in the clearest way possible: Beginning a message with people’s felt needs is not some modern approach invented by 20th century marketing! It’s the way Jesus always preached. It’s based on the theological fact that God chooses to reveal Himself to man according to our needs! Both the Old and New Testament are filled with many examples of this. Even the names of God are revelations of how God meets our felt needs! Throughout history when people have asked God, “What is your name?” God’s response has been to reveal Himself according to what they needed at that specific time: to those who needed a miracle, God revealed himself as Jehovah-Jireh ("I am your provider"); to those who needed comfort, God revealed himself as Jehovah-Shalom ("I am your peace"); to those who needed salvation, God revealed himself as Jehovah-tsidkenu ("I am your righteousness"). The examples go on and on. God always meets us where we are at - our point of need. Preaching to felt needs is a theologically sound approach to introducing people to God. Preaching that changes lives somehow brings the truth of Gods Word and the real needs of people together through application. Which end of the continuum you begin with is irrelevant as long as you bring them together!

Part 2 - Jesus Related Truth to Life I love the practicality and simplicity of Jesus teaching. It was clear, relevant, and applicable. He aimed for application because his goal was to transform people, not merely inform them.

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Consider the greatest sermon ever preached, The Sermon on the Mount. Jesus began by sharing eight secrets of genuine happiness. Then, he talked about living an exemplary lifestyle, controlling anger, restoring relationships, and the issues of adultery and divorce. Next, he spoke of keeping promises and returning good for evil. Jesus then moved on to other practical life issues like how to give with the right attitude, how to pray, how to store up treasure in heaven, and how to overcome worry. He wraps up his message by telling us to not judge others, encouraging persistence when asking God to meet our needs, and warning us about false teachers. Finally, he concludes with a simple story that emphasizes the importance of acting on what he’s taught: Put into practice what you’ve just learned! This is the kind of preaching that we need in churches today. It changes lives! It’s not enough to simply proclaim, “Christ is the Answer”. We must show the unchurched how Christ is the Answer. Sermons that exhort people to change without sharing the practical steps of how to change only produce more guilt and frustration. A lot of preaching today is what I call, “Ain’t it awful!” preaching. It just complains about our society and makes judgments about people in general. It’s long on diagnosis and short on remedy. It makes Christians feel superior to those out there but it rarely changes anything. Instead of lighting a candle, it just curses the darkness. When I go to a doctor, I don’t want to just hear what’s wrong with me, I want him to give me some specific steps to getting better. What people need today is less ought-to sermons and more how-to sermons. Exhortation without explanation leads to frustration. Some pastors today criticize life-application preaching as shallow, simplistic, and inferior. To them the only real preaching is didactic, doctrinal preaching. Their attitude implies that Paul was more profound than Jesus; that Romans is deeper material than the Sermon on the Mount or the Parables. I call that heresy! The deepest kind of teaching is that which makes a difference in peoples day-to-day lives. As D.L. Moody once said, the Bible was not given to increase our knowledge but to change our lives. The goal is Christ-like character. Jesus said, “I have come that you might have life.” He didn’t say, “I’ve come that you might have religion.” Christianity is a life, not a religion, and Jesus was a life-application preacher. When he finished his teaching to the crowd he always wanted them to go and do likewise. Christ-like preaching explains life to people. It produces a changed lifestyle. Life-related preaching doesn’t just inform, it transforms. It changes people because the Word is applied to where people actually live. Sermons that teach people how to live will never lack an audience. 54


Please understand this: The unchurched are not asking that we change the message or even dilute it; they ask only that we show its relevance. Their big question is, “So what?” They want to know, “What difference does it make?” I’ve found that unchurched Americans are intensely interested in Bible doctrine when it is applied in practical and relevant ways to their lives. I love to teach theology to the unchurched without telling them its theology and without using theological terms. I find it challenging and enjoyable. I’ve preached sermon series to the unchurched on the incarnation, justification, and sanctification without ever using the terms! I did a series on the moral attributes of God and simply called it “Getting to Know God”. I’ve preached sermons to seekers on stewardship, the work of the Holy Spirit, and even the Seven Deadly Sins. It’s a myth that you must compromise the message to draw a crowd. Jesus certainly didn’t. You don’t have to transform the message, but you do have to translate it.

Part 3 - Jesus Spoke to the Crowd with an Interesting Style The crowd loved to listen to Jesus. Mark 12:37 (NCV) says, “The large crowd listened to Jesus with pleasure.” The New International Version says that they listened with delight. Do people delight in your messages? Jesus never tried to convert anyone with anger. Some pastors actually think they have failed in their preaching if people enjoy a message. I’ve heard pastors say proudly, “We’re not here to entertain”. In a Gallup poll a few years ago, the unchurched listed the church as the most boring place to be. If you look up the word entertain in a dictionary, you’ll find this definition: capturing and holding the attention for an extended period of time. I don’t know any preacher who doesn’t want to do that! We shouldn’t be afraid of being interesting. A sermon doesn’t have to be dry to be spiritual. To the unchurched, dull preaching is unforgivable. Truth poorly delivered is ignored. On the other hand, the unchurched will listen to absolute foolishness if it is interesting. To prove this just turn on your television late at night and see the assortment of psychics, wackos, and weirdoes that dominate the airwaves. It never ceases to amaze to me how some Bible teachers are able to take the most exciting book in the world and bore people to tears with it. I believe it is a sin to bore people with the Bible. The problem is this: When I teach God’s Word in an uninteresting way, people don’t just think I’m boring, they think God is boring! We slander God’s character if we preach with an uninspiring style or tone. The message is too important to share it with a take-it-or-leave it attitude. Jesus captured the interest of large crowds with techniques that you and I can use. He told stories to make a point. Jesus was the master storyteller. He'd say, "Hey, did you hear the one 55


about..." and then tell a parable to teach a truth. In fact, the Bible shows that storytelling was Jesus’ favorite technique when speaking to the crowd. Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables: “he did not say anything to them without using a parable." (Matt. 13:34) Somehow preachers forget that the Bible is essentially a book of stories! That’s how God has chosen to communicate His Word to human beings. There are many benefits to using stories to communicate spiritual truth. Stories hold our attention. The reason television is so popular is because it’s essentially a story-telling device; whether you’re watching comedy, drama, the news, or a talk show. Even the commercials are stories. Stories stir our emotions. They impact us in ways that precepts and propositions never do. If you want to change lives, you must craft the message for impact, not for information. Stories help us remember. Long after a pastor’s cute outline is forgotten, people will remember the stories of the sermon. It’s fascinating, and sometimes comical, to watch how quickly a crowd tunes in whenever a speaker begins telling a story and how quickly that attention vanishes as soon as the story is finished! Jesus used simple language. He didn’t use technical or theological jargon. He spoke in simple terms that normal people could understand. We need to remember that Jesus did not use the classical Greek language of the scholar. He spoke in Aramaic. He used the street language of that day and talked of birds, flowers, lost coins, and other everyday objects that anyone could relate to. Jesus taught profound truths in simple ways. Today, we do the opposite. We teach simple truths in profound ways. Sometimes when pastors think they are being deep they are really just being muddy. Today some pastors like to show-off their knowledge by using Greek words and academic terms in their preaching. They speak in an unknown tongue without being charismatic! Pastors need to realize that no one cares as much about the Greek as they do. Chuck Swindoll once told me that he believes an overuse of word studies in preaching discourages confidence in the English text. I agree. In fact, Chuck and I - along with Jack Hayford and Chuck Smith - once taught a seminary course on preaching. We each taught how we prepare and deliver sermons. At the end of the course, the students mentioned that all four of us had, without collaboration, emphasized the same thing: keep it simple! It’s easy to complicate the gospel, and of course, Satan would love for us to do just that. The apostle Paul worried that your minds would be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ (2 Cor. 11:3 NASB). It takes a lot of thought and preparation to communicate profound truths in simple ways. Einstein once said, “You don’t really understand something unless you can communicate it in a simple way.” You can be brilliant, but if you can’t share them in a simple way, your insights are not worth much. The Saddleback Valley is one of the most highly educated communities in America, yet I find that the simpler I make the message, the more God blesses it. Simple does not mean shallow. Simple does not mean simplistic. Simple means being clear and understandable. For instance, “This is the day the Lord has made” is simple, while, “Have a nice day!” is 56


simplistic. Most people today communicate with a vocabulary of less than 2,000 words and rely on only about 900 words in daily use. If you want to communicate with most people, you need to keep it simple. Never allow yourself to be intimidated by people who think they are intellectuals. It’s been my observation that people who have to use big words are sometimes hiding bigger insecurities. I believe simple sermon outlines are always the strongest outlines. I consider being called a simple preacher a compliment. I’m interested in seeing lives changed, not in impressing people with my erudition. I’d rather be clear than complex. Jesus - not anyone else - must be our model. When we preach like he did, well see the results he did.

The Ministry Tool Box is for ANYONE serving Jesus Christ. For a free subscription, you can sign up at www.pastors.com. Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA., a congregation that now averages 16,000 in attendance each weekend. Rick is also author of "The Purpose Driven Church," and founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for those in ministry. You may reprint this article in your publication with the following attribution: From Rick Warren's Ministry Tool Box, a free weekly enewsletter for those in ministry, www.pastors.com

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Preaching is Much More Than Just Giving a Sermon by Doy Cave NEW ORLEANS (BP) - Renowned evangelist Stephen Olford says preaching is not just about a good sermon, and if preachers want to see the power of God in their ministries, they will have to not only be passionate and certain about the message, but also live a life of holiness to God. Olford is particularly concerned with overwhelming statistics, which indicate pastors are becoming more and more susceptible to worldliness. Citing Chuck Colson's book, The Body, Olford noted: I. Pastors have the largest divorce rate among any other vocation II. One in 10 pastors have had affairs with members of their congregation III. 25% of pastors have been engaged in illicit affairs IV. The rise of the Internet has led countless pastors down the road of addiction to pornography V. Cybersex has torn down many families once grounded in the Word.

This worldliness, Olford says, is draining the pulpit of God's supernatural power to change lives. "Beloved, if you stand behind this holy desk and you're life isn't pure; if you're life isn't absolutely holy as far as you know it; if you are not walking under an unclouded sky with the ungrieved, unquenched Holy Spirit in your life; then, my friend, you've absolutely blocked the message from any authority whatsoever," says Olford. He says pastors need: 1. The Posture of Preaching. Olford describes this as an unmoved confidence in God that would serve as a constant hope to the preacher through any circumstance. Referring to I Peter 3:13-17, he focused upon God's command to "always be prepared to give an answer to anyone who asks." In order to accomplish this task, Olford says the preacher must have Jesus as the undisputed spokesman in his life, and in order to do that, the preacher must spend time in devotion. Jesus himself was accustomed to having a daily quiet time with God and was recorded as having that time everyday, says Olford, who recalls his time in seminary training, during one day of which he had asked his 58


professor about a daily quiet time, wondering what to do when he didn't feel like spending that time with God. "He looked directly at me, his eyes narrowing, and said, 'Pray when you feel like it. Pray when you don't feel like it. Pray until you feel like it.'� "It's not a matter of feeling. It's a matter of obedience," adds Olford. 2. The Purity of Preaching. Referring to I Peter 1:13-21, Olford notes God's command for His people to "be holy, because I am holy." This command "does not leave any loopholes." "There is no comfort zone there," Olford adds. "Failure to obey is sin, and sin is opposed to holiness." Olford says preachers should be determined to be holy, that it should be an act of will to be in obedience to God. Noting Saul's disobedience in II Kings, Olford says that nothing pleases God as much as obedience. He compared the preacher's willful holiness to that of the Levite priests of the Old Testament, who were not allowed into God's presence unless they were clean. If they failed to do so, they died. "Do you know any Levite to have entered the temple without washing his hands and washing his feet?" Olford asks. "How can I take the Bible into my hand; how can I take the posture to preach without purity?" 3. The Power of Preaching. Referring to Luke 24: 44-53, Olford notes Jesus promised his disciples the power of the Holy Spirit. Olford says this power was a "paternal promise," coming directly from God the Father. This power is absolutely essential to preaching God's Word. "You cannot preach a supernatural savior without a supernatural power," Olford says. "Don't speak until you are endued with power from on high." Olford also notes the purpose of the Spirit's power, which is not only necessary for both Christians and the lost to come to repentance, but is also necessary to both "open the scriptures," and "untangle the minds" of those who hear it. "Until he returns, our task is always to open the scriptures to minds untangled by the Holy Spirit," he says. "Paul knew nothing of Thessalonica, but he took the Bible and took the Holy Spirit in his heart, and in three weeks a church emerged." Olford says the reason so many churches are declining through what he called "shallow discipleship" is due to the fact that preachers are not preaching the authority of Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. "Without that anointing, there is no purpose, no power, and no authority."

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Olford taught these lessons to students at New Orleans Seminary.

What Makes a Great Preacher? Friday, December 15, 2006, 10:36 PM

By Austin B. Tucker As the story goes, on a Sunday night a young pastor was driving home, his wife beside him. It had been a busy weekend at the church. The Sunday night sermon had lasted longer than usual since the preacher felt unusual liberty and unction in the pulpit. They drove in silence for some miles, he with his thoughts and she with hers. Finally, he broke the silence saying, “You know, Sweetheart, there are not many truly great preachers in the world today.” “True,” answered the very weary wife, “and probably one fewer than you think!” What makes a great preacher? As beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so opinions may differ on what makes a great preacher. To be a famous preacher is not the same as to be a great preacher. We may assume, then, that not everyone who preaches a better sermon than his neighbor finds the world beating a path to his door. We may find in heaven that our idea of greatness misses the measure that really matters. But there seem to be some things that mark a few preachers as head and shoulders above the rest. Some indeed are clearly pulpit giants. What makes the difference? The question has occupied my attention more than a little bit for more than a few years. I studied the History of Preaching with Dr. H. C. Brown, Jr. in 1966 and ‘67. Then it was my privilege to teach a course on Great Preachers as guest professor at Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest in the spring of 1993. I taught the same course at New Orleans in the fall of the same year. So I have given it some thought. Here is my list of ten character qualities that great preachers tend to have in common. It may be argued that no preacher has all ten of these features. True enough, but these are matters you will most often find in preachers that deserve a place on anyone’s list of great preachers. Read the list and the series and see if you agree. And pray that the exercise will make all of our preachers better servants of the Word. 1. Great preachers are persons of great personal integrity before they are great pulpiteers. Phillips Brooks (1835-1893), an early contributor to the Yale Lectures on Preaching, defined preaching as “truth through personality.” But what did Brooks mean by “personality”? Is this what turns an actor into a star? Is this what helps a politician win elections? Is personality what makes a preacher popular? We may think of personality in those terms, but Brooks had in mind something else. By “personality” he meant the combination of qualities that make a preacher what he really is -– not just what he appears to be. He was talking about the true person, not just the persona. Brooks had in mind especially issues of personal character. Some people have argued that the character of a minister is incidental to his work including his pulpit work. Phillips Brooks challenged that view. The 60


personal character of the preacher matters. Indeed, it is a priority. The preacher’s task involves persuasion of the mind, emotions and will. We are more willing to believe good men. The preacher must be a person of integrity. Truly great preachers, as distinct from famous (or notorious!) preachers are servants of God, with Holy Spirit anointing. Phillips Brooks would not be a model of expository preaching. He did more topical preaching as do most preachers today. He used a text more as a launching pad for his theme than as the real fabric of the sermon. Still, he was a preacher of great character. Historian Ralph Turnbull in completing Dargan’s third volume in the history of preaching declared Brooks as “the living example of his own ideals and counsel regarding preaching. Character is the principal thing in making a preacher.” Brooks had compassion for the poor of the city as well as the affluent who delighted to hear him preach. Children loved him because they sensed that he loved them. The hymn “O Little Town of Bethlehem” he wrote for the children of his church while on a trip to the Holy Land. Brooks took a courageous stand on social and ethical issues of the Civil War era and afterward. In an era when Unitarianism and Darwinism were so strong, especially in New England, he held to all Thirty-Nine Articles of his Episcopal church. Theologically, some regarded him as rather liberal, since he emphasized the incarnation of Christ more than the atonement. Others thought he was too conservative, since he held to the doctrine of the Trinity. Brooks had a Unitarian father but was shaped more perhaps by his very evangelical mother of New England Puritan heritage. A fitting monument was erected in his memory in front of Trinity Church in Boston, the scene of his last and greatest pastoral ministry. It is a statue of Brooks standing in his pulpit with his open Bible. Standing behind the preacher (who himself stood six feet, four inches and about three hundred pounds) is a larger-than-life Christ with his hand on the preacher’s shoulder. Jesus came preaching in the power of the Holy Spirit as did John before him and the apostles and others after him. Stephen, Peter, Paul, and Philip preached in the power of that Spirit. The pulpit power of a preacher has much to do with his character. Great preachers in history have learned this lesson. 2. Great preachers tend to feel deeply, and they are not likely to be bashful about expressing those feelings. They are passionate souls. Their love is focused in two directions -- toward their fellow man and Godward. Especially do they have a devout love of Christ. Take Bernard of Clairvaux for example. He was a monk, a theologian, and a mystic who lived 1091-1153 A.D. By preaching, he enlisted thousands to go on the second (and ill-fated) crusade to free the Holy Land. This assignment took him throughout his native France and through Italy and Germany. He had to preach through an interpreter in Germany, yet people were moved to tears even before the translation. Someone has said, “Painted fire never burns.” With Bernard it was real passion. He was also a hymn writer who gave the church hymns of deep pathos still in our hymnals nearly a thousand years later. Churches which have not abandoned the hymnal in favor of frothy choruses still sing: “Jesus the very thought of Thee 61


With sweetness fills my breast, But sweeter far Thy face to see And in thy presence rest. No voice can sing, no heart can frame, Nor can the memory find A sweeter sound than Thy blest name, O Savior of mankind.” Baptists and other evangelicals could learn a thing or two from this eloquent Roman Catholic about devotion to Christ and about passionate preaching. We would not want to follow him in his minute allegorical treatment of texts, of course, but Bernard was an excellent preacher. Richard Baxter (1615-1691 A.D.) often described his own pulpit ministry as that of one who “preached as never sure to preach again and as a dying man to dying men.” He was in poor health nearly all his life, but he considered his physical frailty an advantage. It more easily brought his soul to seriousness. He urged his fellow pastors to give priority to evangelistic preaching and personal soul winning. “The first and greatest work of ministers of Christ” wrote Baxter, “is acquainting men with the God who made them. . . . Focus on the great work of evangelism whatever else you do or leave undone.” Baxter earned the right to be heard on Sunday by ceaseless daily labors in the care of his flock. He insisted that a pastor link pulpit work to a personal pastoral ministry. At Kidderminster he spent two days each week, seven hours each day, instructing families in his flock. He devoted one hour per family to their spiritual needs. Part of the hour he gave to one-on-one interviews with each member of the family. Then he taught them the doctrines of the church. They knew he loved them. He wrote in The Reformed Pastor: “He that will blow coals must not wonder if some sparks do fly in his face; and that to persecute men and then call them to charity is like whipping children to make them give over crying . . . .I saw that he that will be loved, must love; and he that rather chooseth to be more feared than loved, must expect to be hated, or loved diminutively. And that he that will have children must be a father; and he that will be a tyrant must be contented with slaves.” Great preachers love God and they love people. They weep for lost souls. They are sensitive to hurting hearts around them, and as Christ’s undershepherds they love the sheep of His pasture. 3. Great Preachers Have a Passion to Preach. They tend to have in common the desire to set others ablaze with the fire that burns in their own souls. Thirty years ago, Donald Demaray published his study, Pulpit Giants: What Made Them Great? He named Paul Rees as “one who preaches on the fire of the Spirit (and) is himself a man on fire.” Then he drew an important conclusion: “This seems to be the one underlying characteristic of all great preachers: they burn with a holy passion to communicate.” Some pastors are content to be administrators and organizers. Other ministers would gladly spend all their 62


time in visiting or counseling or other one-on-one ministry. They might wish preaching were never part of their duty. They know nothing of Paul’s burden: “. . .I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I preach not the gospel!” (1 Cor. 9:16 NIV) Great preachers must preach or die. George Whitefield was mightily used of the Lord in bringing the Great Awakening to England and colonial America. He preached year after year over five hundred times a year. In addition, he started a great orphanage ministry in Georgia and promoted it everywhere he went. But he was a preacher first of all. He preached some eighteen thousand sermons of record. These were one-hour and two-hour sermons mostly to vast crowds gathered in the open air. If we count the unscheduled “exhortations” which crowds begged of him, that number would probably double. Sarah Edwards, wife of Jonathan Edwards, in a letter to her brother, described Whitefield’s preaching: “He speaks from a heart all aglow with love, and pours out a torrent of eloquence which is almost irresistible.” Whitefield’s consuming passion was for souls. Some sermons dealt with pastoral and ethical concerns, but every sermon was evangelistic. He seldom preached without tears. Critics despised the display of emotion; the multitudes knew it was from a deep heart longing for their salvation. Great preachers, like Jeremiah, have fire in their bones, and they are driven by the desire to set others ablaze with that fire. In 1770, in Whitefield’s last tour of New England, he preached at Boston, at Portsmouth, and at Exeter. When he reached Newbury Port, he was too tired to get out of the boat. With help, he made it to the parsonage of Old South Church. As evening came he regained a measure of strength and took supper with his host family. A crowd began to gather at the door. Some of them pushed on into the house in hope of hearing his voice again. "I am too tired,” Whitefield said “and must go to bed.” He took a lighted candle and started climbing the stairs. But the sight of the patient people gathered in the street and crowding into the house was too much to refuse. He paused on the staircase to say a few words. Soon he was “exhorting” them to trust the savior. He grew stronger, then weaker, then stronger again. He preached until the candle burned down to the socket and flickered out. Then one of the greatest of all preachers and evangelists went up to bed and died. 4. Great preachers are anchored to the Bible. John Wycliff, “the Morning Star of the Reformation,” burned with a passion to get the Bible into the hands of every man in his native tongue. Translating the Latin Vulgate into fourteenth century English, he became the first to give the whole Bible to his generation in their native tongue. A granite pillar in his honor fittingly stands in Lutterworth, England where he did most of his preaching. On it is the text, “Search the Scriptures.” Great preachers are usually readers of many books, but they are anchored to the Bible supremely. John Bunyan (1628-1688) spent twelve years in Bedford jail. He was guilty only of preaching God’s Word without the license of the established church. He was not idle in jail. He had a wife and four children to support; one child was blind. He made long lace tags for them to sell. He served as counselor to a great many people who sought his wisdom. He wrote undying literature, most notably Pilgrim’s Progress. Most of all he searched the Scriptures and preached through the bars to crowds who gathered outside his cell 63


window. He was a great preacher and a great writer, but he was not a writer of great sermons. His sermons that have come down to us tend to be ponderous and lacking in the clarity and drama of his narratives. Yet the crowds gathered to hear him explain and apply the Word of God. An occasional Billy Sunday or D. L. Moody became great evangelists without much theological education. They were exceptions to the rule. Sunday and Moody both knew their great limitations and sought to help others have the advantage of education not afforded them. G. Campbell Morgan, Alexander Maclaren, and John A. Broadus were great nineteenth century expositors. Skill in Bible exposition made them great. Therefore they, though dead, still speak. Broadus, unfortunately, did not leave us many sermons, but his treatise On the Preparation and Delivery of Sermons may still be the all-time greatest textbook on Preaching. Harry Emerson Fosdick (1878-1969) was a Baptist without the high view of Scripture that most Southern Baptists hold. We would call Fosdick a liberal. He preferred the label “Modernist.” But here is a strange thing: he was usually faithful to his text in a way that many who loudly defend the Bible miserably fail to be. Preaching about the Bible is not the same as preaching God’s Word. Great preaching is not scrounging for a text to buttress the preacher’s preconceived beliefs. Great preachers let the text shape the sermon, as homilitician Wayne McDill likes to say. Clarence Macartney (1879-1957) could preach a masterful sermon on three words in a single verse. Hundreds of times he preached his sermon on Paul’s plea, “Come Before Winter”(2 Tim. 4:21). Before the sermon is over, those three words are a sparkling diamond in a skillfully crafted setting of the whole chapter. Masterful application to the hearer’s personal life enliven the text as well. In his autobiography, The Making of a Minister, Macartney could say factually, “My preaching has been based entirely on the Bible.” 5. Great Preachers are Relevant. A minister retired after spending more than forty years in one pastorate. A reporter interviewed him for a feature article and asked the secret of his long tenure. He answered: “In forty years I have never preached on a controversial subject.” Personally, I should not like to be in that brother’s sandals at the Judgment Seat of Christ! Great preachers speak to the burning issues of their time. Clyde Fant and Bill Pinson, came to one over-arching conclusion at the end of their monumental study of ninety preachers that issued in the ten-volume set Twenty Centuries of Great Preaching: “Great Preaching is relevant preaching. . . .The preachers who made the greatest impact upon the world were men who spoke to the issues of their day” (Vol. I, p. v.). Martin Luther was scandalized by the teaching of his church that a sinner might purchase for himself or for a departed loved one the indulgence of the Almighty with money. On October 31, 1517 he tacked to the chapel door at Wittenberg Castle his Ninety-Five Theses Against Indulgences. It was in Latin, of course, as was the custom of clerics proposing topics for scholarly debate. Someone translated it, however, and it was soon spread all over Europe. Luther found himself the center of a reform movement. He did not set out to lead a breakaway party from Rome. He wanted to correct the abuses he found in it. A preacher who has something to say about the burning issues of his day will likely find himself leading the way to change. 64


One time the reform movement at Wittenberg was in danger of being taken over by extremists. They were demanding more radical and rapid change. Against the advice of his protectors, Luther left the security of Wartburg Castle where he was occupied with the vital task of translating the Scriptures into the language of his people. He returned to Wittenberg, and in a series of eight sermons in one week, he curbed the influence of the radicals and settled the anxiety of his friends. The Reformation was back on track. Reinhold Neibuhr said the function of a sermon is “to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable.” Read the New Testament record: Stephen’s preaching disturbed people. So did Paul’s sometimes. So did John’s and so did the preaching of Jesus! They did not come to deliver a few pious platitudes to give people a nice warm feeling down in their souls. All great preachers come with a “Thus says the Lord” for the need of the hour. Some preachers today studiously avoid disturbing the status quo. They never preach sermons that deal with ethical issues like race relations, gambling, world hunger, alcohol and tobacco addiction. They justify their silence by saying “People don’t want to come to church and hear about pornography and promiscuity and every problem of society.” They may be right, but they risk being irrelevant. Great preachers in the history of the church from New Testament times to last Sunday are prophets who shirk not to thunder the Word of the Lord on the issues that matter today. 6. Great Preachers are Overcomers. An interesting thing that appears commonly in the lives of great preachers is that many of them tasted failure or rejection early in life and suffered great hardships but rose above it all. They are overcomers. Thomas Chalmers (1780-1847) was twenty-three years old when he became pastor of rural Kilmany church in Scotland in 1793. Scotland already had a rich heritage of great preachers, but in these early years Chalmers was neither a good preacher nor a good pastor. He was powerless in the pulpit, among the flock, and in the community. His first pastorate was a disaster. He began in Kilmany with no care for his flock and little interest in Christianity. This went on for seven years while he nearly emptied the church. Then the dry and dusty domine discovered the cause of his spiritual poverty. A series of personal crises led him to realize that he was lost! He came to the Savior and immediately began to preach with a new spiritual power. His consuming hobby of mathematics and other distractions fell away as he fixed his heart on the excellencies of the Father in heaven. His conversion dramatically transformed his life and ministry. He fell in love with the Bible, his pastoral duties, and the preacher’s task. The next four years, the people flocked to hear him preach. His most famous sermon speaks of “The Expulsive Power of a New Affection.” It could be a personal testimony of how his new love for Jesus made his former fascinations fade away. The seed thought for that sermon came as he was riding a stage coach. He noticed the driver begin to crack the whip for no apparent reason. When the preacher asked him about it, the driver told of one horse in the brace that was once terrified by something at that particular bend in the road. Ever after, the steed would shy and bolt in drawing near to that place. So the driver gave him something else to occupy his mind until the critical place was past. It set the preacher to thinking of how God graciously redirects our minds from the things that would drag us down and turns us to higher and nobler pursuits. Chalmers preached in a city famous for great preachers and 65


in the century that many consider the greatest era in the history of preaching. He has been called the greatest preacher Glascow ever heard. Peter Marshall (1902-1949) struggled desperately in Scotland growing up without a father. Then he came to America for seminary training. After he married Catherine, tuberculosis broke her health. Caring for her and their small son as well as his pastorate was almost more than he could bear. In time God healed Catherine, but Peter developed the heart disease that shortened his life. He was not yet forty-seven when he died, but this dynamic pastor and greatly respected chaplain of the U. S. Senate had said, “The measure of life, after all, is not its duration, but its donation.” 7. Great preachers are given to thinking and meditation. Not all great preachers in the history of the church thought alike, but all truly great preacher alike are thinkers. They tend to have minds given to reflection, to innovation and to originality. Some, like Thomas Aquinas and John Calvin were theoretical and abstract thinkers. Others, like Thomas Chalmers and F. W. Robertson were creative thinkers. Their sermons were marked by fresh insights and lucid language. Take Fredrick W. Robertson (1816-1853) as a case study. Many preachers suppose every sermon has to have three points regardless of the natural divisions of the text. Robertson liked texts that suggest two points. They might be contrasting ideas or comparisons; the second idea might complete the first. For example, a sermon is based on John 16:31-32. “Behold the hour cometh, yea is now come that ye shall be scattered. . .and shall leave me alone, and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.” Robertson’s title is “The Loneliness of Christ.” The twin themes in the text as he preached it are first, the loneliness of Christ, (“ye. . .shall leave me alone”), and second, the spirit or temper of that solitude, (“and yet I am not alone, etc.”). It is, of course, a sermon also about our struggle with loneliness and isolation. Robertson grew up on a military post and wanted a military career. His father, however, urged him to consider the gospel ministry. Shortly after he entered Oxford at age twenty-nine, an offer of an officer’s commission came to him. He had made his choice, though, and did not look back. At thirty-two he was ordained and began a rigorous agenda that might break anyone’s health. Up at dawn, skip breakfast, spend all morning in Bible study. All afternoon rush from hovel to hovel in the slums of London. Spend the evenings in discussions with your supervisor. No leisure, no social life, no rest until his health broke and his doctor sent him to Switzerland to recover. When he came back a year later, he began his pastorate at Trinity Chapel, Brighton. Though he was thoroughly evangelical in theology and evangelistic in ministry, many of his fellow pastors were suspicious of his concern for social reform. After all, the “social gospel” was making inroads into many churches. While Robertson was ministering in the slums of London, Karl Marx was in that city’s library writing his Communist Manifesto. Robertson preached the true gospel of Christ, however. Robertson died at thirty-seven years of age counting himself a failure. In fact, acclaim as a great preacher came but only after he died. Though his life was cut short, he had memorized the whole New Testament in English and much of it in Greek. He always preached extemporaneous sermons after thorough study and reflection on his text. Then on Sunday night after he preached, he wrote out his sermon manuscript. After his death, these sermons began to be published. They are still widely read and praised today. 66


8. Great preachers have the shepherd heart. They have compassion for the lost sheep and a loving concern for the whole flock. Some preachers, like Charles G. Finney and John Wesley were great preachers as missionary evangelists. They were itinerant preachers more than local church pastors, but they kept in touch with the common man. Their great passion was for winning the lost. Other preachers focus more on tending the sheep already gathered into the fold. A pastor ought to do both. Great preachers who are pastors will go after the one lost sheep and not fail to feed the ninety and nine. Some great preachers turned their passion for people toward redeeming society as well as souls. The name Walter Rausenbusch (1861-1918) is indelibly printed on the pages of history as the Father of the Social Gospel. True enough, he did preach to change society. He sought to bring the transforming Christ into the institutions of society–especially business and government. Yet Rausenbusch, in fact, was one Baptist who preached the need for a personal, transforming conversion experience with Christ. That is foundational to reforming society. George W. Truett (1867-1934) is a worthy model for a pastoral preacher. He was a true shepherd who went out after the lost sheep in personal evangelism and in evangelistic preaching. Then, like the Good Shepherd, he did more than dip ’em and drop ’em as soon as they were counted. Truett was a shepherd who fed the flock Sunday after Sunday. When he was a young man, he wanted to be a lawyer. His church in Whitewright, Texas, however, over his vigorous protests, voted to ordain him. In 1890, B. H. Carroll enlisted him to raise funds to save Baylor. He did save the school and a seminary that soon moved to Fort Worth and became Southwestern. Soon after he graduated from Baylor, they elected him president. This time, he did not let others set his course; he declined the honor saying that God had given him the shepherd heart. If you have not read the sermons of Truett, you should–whether you are layman or preacher. Scan the titles and hear the heartbeat of a pastor. Especially in the dark days of World War II did he offer encouraging sermons like “Christ and Human Suffering,” “Why Be Discouraged?” and “The Conquest of Fear.” This last one takes Rev. 1:17-18 as a text. “Fear not, I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and behold, I am alive forevermore; Amen, and have the keys of hell and of death.” The outline is in three divisions. First, do not be afraid of life. Jesus said “I am he that liveth.” Secondly, do not be afraid of death; Jesus said “. . .and was dead.” And thirdly, do not be afraid of eternity; Jesus said “. . .and behold, I am alive forevermore, etc.” Not all great preachers are pastors. This is true today as in the whole history of the Church. There have been great missionary preachers, itinerants, evangelists, and revivalists. But even these, if they deserve recognition for greatness, have taken personally the Words of Jesus to Peter, “Feed my lambs. . . .Take care of my sheep. . .Feed my sheep” (John 21:17 NIV). 9. Great preachers walk with the Lord. Some of them we might call mystics. Some had this walk from childhood; some turned to the Lord in a sudden and dramatic conversion. Others were changed later in life by a “deeper experience.” 67


Augustine (A.D. 354-430) was one who turned to the Lord in a dramatic conversion. Before that, he led a wild life including a long-term affair with a mistress who bore him a son. But he came under deep conviction. In his Confessions he told of one day hearing a child’s voice over the garden wall saying “Pick it up, read it; pick it up, read it.” He could think of only one Book that he needed to read. Finding a Bible, he opened it and soon came to forsake all for Christ. Shortly after his conversion, he saw his former lover coming toward him on the street. He turned and ran away. She called after him: “Augustine, It is I!” Without stopping, he called back over his shoulder, “I know it is you, but I am no longer the same Augustine!” John Tauler (1300-1361) was ordained at age thirty-five, but years later a layman brought heavy conviction on him, saying: “You must die, Dr. Tauler! Before you can do your greatest work. . .you must die to yourself, your gifts, your popularity, and even your own goodness.” He quit preaching for two years. When he returned to the pulpit, it was with a power and zeal to exalt Christ. His writings were a strong influence on many including Martin Luther. John Bunyan’s (1628-1688) adult conversion experience is well known. He was a traveling tinker, making and selling pots and pans. One day he overheard three women sitting on their respective door stoops, talking about the joys of knowing Christ. He went through a long incubation of conviction on the way to conversion. At that time he could not read or write. Before he finished his pilgrimage, he wrote a hundred books. His Pilgrim’s Progress is still counted as one of the greatest books in English literature. Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) was reared by parents and grandparents who were devout Congregationalists and ministers. At age ten he wrote a tract on “The Nature of the Soul.” Then one day, in the year he graduated from Yale at age seventeen, he was reading the Bible when suddenly he became aware of the presence of God. He was captured then and there with the thought of the union of the soul with God. That experience became the defining moment of his life and ministry. We probably remember him most for his famous sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” We should remember also that he was mightily used of God in the Great Awakening in colonial America. F. B. Meyer (1847-1929), was a British Baptist greatly used of God in the Keswick movement as well as in notable pastorates. He confesses that it was many years after he took Christ as Savior and several years after he entered the ministry that he took Christ as his Judge, Lawgiver, and King. He said, “It was a very memorable night in my life when I knelt before Christ and gave myself definitely to Him, and committed the keys of my heart and life to His hands. . . .and though I had no joy, no emotion, no ecstasy, I had a blessed feeling in my heart that I had but one Lord, one will, one purpose in all my life and for all coming time– . . .Jesus. . .for whom henceforth my life was to be spent.” 10. Great preachers work hard. In the history of preaching, those who excelled at their task were all hard workers, busy preachers, never idle, never slackers. How a Calvin or Wesley or Whitefield could preach every day and sometimes several times a day, and still find time to study and write and organize and promote a mighty movement of men and nations, boggles the mind! Whatever other gifts or talents they had, they worked hard! Consider Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892). Besides preaching and serving as pastor of a great church, he established a pastor’s college and lectured to the young men regularly. He established an orphanage and ministered to the children. He published a monthly magazine called The Sword and the Trowel that included 68


in every issue his exposition of a psalm or some other text. It enjoyed wide circulation all over the Englishspeaking world. Wilbur Smith calculated that Spurgeon’s writings would approximate twenty-seven volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica. He founded a literature distribution society and arranged for colporteurs to distribute wholesome Christian reading material in a society woefully in need of it. Spurgeon himself read tons of books. Though he was without theological schooling, he was certainly not without theological education. Many of the twelve thousand volumes of his personal library have his handwritten notes in the margins, evidence of thousands of hours spent in study. A common misconception about Spurgeon’s sermon preparation is that he spent only a couple of hours on Saturday evening after supper on his Sunday morning sermon. Not true! He spent many hours of the week working on several texts. Then at the end of the week he selected the one most ready to preach and sketched out his final sermon plan. When John Henry Jowett (1863-1923) was a new pastor, he was awakened early in the morning by the clomping of work shoes going past his window. The mills started work at six o’clock. He aid, “The sound of clogs fetched me out of bed and took me to my work.” In his Yale Lectures on Preaching (among the very best in that illustrious series named for Lyman Beecher), Jowett advised young pastors to enter their study at an early hour. He recommended that hour be as early as the earliest of their business men goes to his office. Jowett occupied some of the most illustrious pulpits in England including Westminster Chapel in London following G. Campbell Morgan. In 1911, he moved to New York City’s Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church. Pastors today are tempted to wring their hands and bemoan the plethora of promotional and organizational work that demands their time. We think he could prepare great sermons if we just didn’t have so much else to do. Of course, preachers in earlier generations didn’t have to spend ten or fifteen hours a week watching television and I don’t know of a single one who had to spend one day every week on the golf course. The task of a preacher is too great and too glorious to command less than total commitment. Christ deserves no less than our best.

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