Duarte states …
A big idea is that one key message you want to communicate. … Screenwriters call this the ‘controlling idea.’ It has also been called the gist, the take-away, the thesis statement, or the single unifying message. (78)
I like the term “big idea.” It’s the term that preaching professor, Haddon Robinson, uses. Andy Stanley, author of Communicating for a Change, calls it the main point. Stanley advises the use of a “sticky statement,” a brief statement that clearly conveys the main point or the big idea.
Duarte says there are three components of a big idea:
- A big idea must articulate your unique point of view.
- A big idea must convey what’s at stake.
- A big idea must be a complete sentence. (78)
Duarte offers some examples of big ideas. She notes that “Lunar Mission” is not a big idea. The big idea, as communicated by President John F. Kennedy, is, “The United States should lead in space achievement because it holds the key to our future on Earth” (79).
Stanley describes the main point as “the glue to hold the other parts together.” If done well, it presents the point in a memorable way. It’s a step that many communicators skip, but one that Stanley is convinced “makes all the difference.”
Pastors have the advantage of speaking to the same audience every week. But with the advantage also comes the challenge of preparing new content every week. I normally don’t have too much trouble narrowing my focus to a single big idea (although some weeks are more clear than others), but crafting a clear, concise, memorable statement every week can be a challenge!
That’s one of the reasons I appreciate Resonate. I believe it will help me write better sticky statements!