Although I have preached for more than twenty times already, I still dread every time I have to prepare for a sermon. So I decided to pick up some books on preaching skills, and I found this book on Amazon being the best-selling book in that category.
The first half of the book begins with the story of a preacher who has always struggled with the effectiveness of his preaching (i.e. having people falling asleep or spacing out when he preaches). Through the recommendation of a friend, he flew thousands of miles and went to meet a truck driver for help. So what can a truck driver teach a preacher about preaching? I’ll leave that to your own discovery. It is really an engaging story.
In the second half of the book, authors Andy Stanley and Lane Jones explain in detail the 7 keys to irresistible communication. And they are:
- Determine Your Goal
- Pick A Point
- Create a Map
- Internalize the Message
- Engage Your Audience
- Find Your Voice
- Start All Over
While most of the them are standard communication tips, I find the most helpful is the map. The book suggests a map outlined as ME-WE-GOD-YOU-WE, built around your relationship with the audience instead of content.
In the first ME section, you tell something about yourself or your struggles, establishing the trust between you and your audience. Next, in the WE section, you try to strike a chord with the audience, making sure they feel that they do share your struggles and desperately want an answer for it. Then you may fully exposit God’s word in the GOD section, resolving the tension people have with their questions. Then in the YOU section, you challenge them to act, to respond to the Word. And finally in the last WE section, you don’t want to leave them feeling helpless to do it alone, but inspire and encourage them to imagine the impact that could happen to the community if everybody does it together.
I highly recommend this book, since it really helped me in crafting my sermons. The short 200 pages and its down-to-earth writing style make it a quick read. The seven keys are very simple and direct. I even printed out an outline and nailed it to my board for reminder.
Actually I don’t think it is only for preachers, but for all who does communication for a living, especially communicating for a change in people’s lives.