Last month, I mentioned the free online preaching conference, Peach Better Sermons. I watched most of the 3.5-hour event last Thursday (The Christian Post wrote an article about the event).
It was a great event. The speakers included Perry Noble, Jud Wilhite, Vanable Moody, Andy Stanley, Dr. Charles Stanley, Louie Giglio, Jeff Foxworthy, and Dan Cathy. While there was a lot of great content, I came away with a few tremendous takeaways.
1. Define clear next steps.
This concept wasn’t new, but I like the language. I generally think of it as application. Nancy Duarte calls it a call to action. Jud Wilhite talked about having one, sometimes two, clear next steps.
2. You need to have a target audience in mind.
I’m very familiar with Andy Stanley and his approach (see One-Point Preaching, by far the most popular post on this blog). Stanley talked about having a particular target audience in mind as you prepare your sermon.
3. Create tension in the first five minutes of the sermon.
Stanley addresses this in his book, Communicating for a Change, but after hearing him talk about the importance of tension, this is an area I want to ramp up. The basic idea is, if you don’t raise a question people want answered in the first few minutes, you’ll spend the rest of the message answering a question no one is asking.
I enjoyed hearing Dr. Charles Stanley. His most impacting statement (and one of the most tweeted quotes from the event) was, “A man can preach no better than he prays” (it applies to women as well).
5. Let God do a work in you through the text.
It’s easy to approach the Bible as a source for sermons rather than as God’s Word. Louie Giglio used a funnel as an illustration of how God’s Word pours into us and works on us so that a meaningful, focused message comes out. I posted on Twitter, “After listening to @louiegiglio … I’m going to pray and study w/ a funnel by my side!” It’s a great reminder that I must be transformed by the message that I hope will transform others.
I enjoyed Preach Better Sermons. It was a kick-off event for Preaching Rocket, a new, innovative 12-month coaching network for preachers.