I was recently asked by SundaySchool.com to post “Four Tips to Becoming A More Engaging Communicator.” Only the people who make up our church could truly confirm or deny if I am truly engaging as a speaker. With that being said, here are what I believe are some (the list is anything but exhaustive) crucial elements to an effective sermon:
Transformation trumps Information
I prefer Andy Stanley’s one-point model (see “Communicating for a Change” for more details) because sharing a single point in five different ways seems to be a whole lot more memorable than listing three points in three similar ways. The result is not supposed to be WHAT you know but WHO you know.
Personhood trumps Principles
Introduce the audience to Jesus Christ. Don’t be afraid to tell them the story – to invite them into the event. Focus on what He said and what he did (and why all of that matters). His words and actions are often much more challenging and controversial than any counsel and advice we ourselves could conjure up on our own.
Prayer trumps Performance
I make every effort each week to memorize my notes. Very few things are more distracting than someone married to their notes. However, I have learned that if I have a few extra minutes of preparation – going over my sermon just one more time is not as important as stopping long enough to ask God to do what only he can do. No matter how good we think we are, we are rarely (if ever) as good as we really think we are. Dictation is never as vital as discernment.
Collaboration trumps Control
Team-teaching is the way to go. Too often first-chair leaders don’t want to relinquish the platform because they believe themselves to be the best communicator in the church (sometimes this is true and sometimes it is not). Regardless, we all can learn from each other. People will actually appreciate your voice more when they don’t hear it every week. The key to any teaching team is that everyone says the same thing in their own unique way. This also helps ensure that the only “iconic leadership” is the leadership of Christ.
Do you have any tips for other communicators? Share them below.