Thursday, February 6, 2014

Talking Or Teaching Part 2

Be creative.  Please. I am begging you. Use your imagination and teach like Jesus.  Think about what He did.  He used object lessons and things from everyday life.  He used flowers, birds and children.  He put mud on a blind man’s face.  He spoke in such a way that thousands wanted to hear what He had to say, even if they disagreed with it.  Let me tell you an example that I use in my pastor conferences.  I put in a dvd of any popular show.  Then, I have the pastors count how many times in 3 minutes that a different camera angle is used.  It is almost always more than once every five seconds.  Once every five seconds we see the show from a different angle.  It keeps us interested, it keeps us watching.  I then ask how many angles do we give to our audience.  Usually it is one…a talking head.  I believe that using different angles, different ways of communicating the same truth, helps us connect and get it.  I use children, volunteers, play dough (last week), videos, cartoons, drama, visuals, graphic arts, various presentation packages (Prezi, Powerpoint, Keynote), object lessons, etc.  They all are used to communicate the truth.  My sermons are usually 45 minutes long, but within them there will be two or three different angles.  Let me share with you what I believe is the greatest compliment that I have received, and I have been told it multiple times by parents.  They tell me that their children love my sermons.  They say that one of the things they like most about my preaching is that everyone can understand me.  It is the illustrations that they remember.  

Tell stories (without notes).  Stories of personal failures, success and applications.  Stories of how you lived out the truth.  Stories, not dull history.  Use everyday life examples and parables to show what you are teaching.  I said without notes.  I will say more about this in 7, but a story is easy to remember, especially if it is a story of your life.  I cannot understand it when I am in a church and a pastor says, “Let me share with you something that happened to my family last year.”  Then he reads it.  Telling a story is way better than reading one.  Know your stories….and

Know what you are going to say. Let me say that again.  KNOW what you are going to say.  Notes are a great thing to keep you on track, but if you need them then you do not know your content.  My messages are on my ipad, and are usually 15-20 pages long.  However, on any given Sunday, if I cannot find my ipad, then I can preach.  (this has happened to me probably 10 times in my life—in the hectic morning rush I put down my Bible/Ipad and cannot remember where it is).  A great way to do this is through visuals.  I use photos to make my points.  I can remember my message and stay on track because I know what content accompanies a specific photo.  You can try mind mapping, pictures, printouts of your slides, whatever…but DO NOT READ YOUR MESSAGE.   If you have to read your sermon or lesson…if you need to look at your notes more than once a minute…you do not know what you are going to say (so SHUT UP), you are not passionate about what you are saying, (so SHUT UP) and/or you have not applied what you are saying (so SHUT UP).

Plan on how you are going to say what you are going to say. In my conferences I tell pastors that preparation of WHAT they are going to say is only half the job.  We need to know how we are going to say it.  What illustration will I use and when.  Is there a story that really expands this point?  Where can I be creative?  I believe that our people need to SEE the truth as well as hear it…so we need to think about what we are going to do to allow them to see it.  I spend 15 hours each week on my sermon.  50% of that time is in developing content, and then 50% is on how to communicate that content.  Not just content, but the actual presentation.  I memorize each 45 minute sermon each week.  When will you talk fast, talk slow, pause, etc.  I color code my notes to include pauses, emphasis, even specific eye contact at points.  What you are doing is far too important to improvise on the fly.

Use graphic arts not powerpoint.  We KILL people with our powerpoint.  It is horrible.  It is done incorrectly.  It is not supportive to the communication of the truth.  I highly recommend a book called Presentation Zen.  This book teaches the proper way to use powerpoint and keynote.  In a nutshell, our presentation software should be art or photos designed to convey emotion.  Our words convey content.  A few years ago, I quit writing my points on powerpoint and instead found emotional photos that I would show as I stated my point.  Every Sunday after church I ask my children to recap the sermon.  I lie not, this is what they do.  “The first photo was of a lady sinking in quicksand.  When we saw that you talked about how, even in the hardest times of our lives, God is with us.   Then you had a photo of a man drinking toxic waste—I loved that photo!  That was when you said that bitterness is poison to our soul.”  This is a real life example and it was an 8 year old talking.  Here is the photo of the man that I used.  See how that grabs attention better than a boring slide with text on it?

I hope that those who read this will be challenged to improve how they communicate.  If any of these points interest you, then go to Amazon and buy books on it.  



Stumbler said...

I'm liking this. :-)