I got up off my knees, sat back down at my desk, and determined not to let that happen. I got rid of my alliterated points and boiled it down to one idea. Then I worked on it until I had crafted a statement upon which I could hang the entire message.
The next day, I told the story. I concluded with the idea that sometimes God will ask us to do things we don’t understand, and that the only way to understand fully is to obey. We will all look back with a sigh of relief or feel the pain of regret. Then I delivered my statement: To understand why, submit and apply. I repeated it several times. I had them repeat it. Then I closed.
When I left the platform that day, I knew I had connected. What I didn’t realize at the time was that I had stumbled onto something that would shape my approach to communication.
Preaching on Sunday mornings is such a simple thing and by complicating it, I think we all do ourselves and the audience a disservice. It is very simple. Here is the model: Make people feel like they need an answer to a question. Then take them to God’s Word to answer the question. And tell them why it is important to do what we just talked about. And then you close by saying, “Wouldn’t it be great if everybody did that?” And that’s it. It is a journey. You take people from somewhere to somewhere.
One of the things that we talk a lot about around here is what makes for a relevant environment?
There are three things:
1) an appealing setting,
2) engaging communication, and
3) helpful information.
So the two parts that relate to the sermon are:
1) Was the presentation engaging? and
2) Was the information helpful?
Andy offers a basic map, or outline, summarized by the words, ME-WE-GOD-YOU-WE. This map “is built around the communicator’s relationship with the audience rather than the content” (119).
- ME and WE are about finding common ground with the audience (how the day’s topic connects with the communicator and as many people in the audience as possible).
- The GOD section is where you talk about the text, God’s thoughts on the topic.
- The YOU section is where the topic is applied to the audience.
- The final WE section is for casting vision – “you paint a verbal picture of what could be and should be” (129).
A) What do they need to know? (Information)
- What is the simple idea?
- What is the one thing they need to know?
- What one statement summarizes the message.
B) Why do they need to know it? (The motivation)
- The key developing tension in the introduction
- Give them a reason to listen
- Why should they care?
- Make them beg for the answer to their question
- Show how society has gone wrong and give God’s answer to societies problems
- If they aren’t convinced they need to know they will consider what you have to say irrelevant
C) What do they need to do? (Application)
- Assign homework
- What can we do to help them do it?
D) Why do they need to do it? (Inspiration)
- What would it look like if everyone in our church did this?
- How can you inspire people to act?
E) What can I do to help them remember? (Memory)
- What can I give them?
- Is there a memorable phrase?
- Is there a specific image which will help people remember?
- Write discussion questions for mid-week small groups
Despite all these differences, there is one thing Stanley and Keller agree on: preachers ought to be mindful of the unbelievers in their congregation.
Stanley and Keller may be worlds apart in terms of their theological vision for ministry, but they both maintain that a preacher should consider the unsaved, unchurched people in attendance.