Focus Your Stories on One Simple Truth

How can using the power of life stories change your culture?

To help see others see change, the leader must understand how to unlock the imagination. The very act of imagination is connected to faith. The author of Hebrews writes, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). When a leader articulates, or provokes, a follower’s imagination, he or she is serving both God and the individual by exercising the muscle of faith.

Solution – Focus your stories on one simple truth

THE QUICK SUMMARY – Communicating for a Change, Andy Stanley

Great stories capture and hold an audience’s attention from start to finish. Why should it be any different when you stand up to speak?

In Communicating for a Change, Andy Stanley and Lane Jones offer a unique strategy for communicators seeking to deliver captivating and practical messages. In this highly creative presentation, the authors unpack seven concepts that will empower you to engage and impact your audience in a way that leaves them wanting more.

Whether you speak from the pulpit, podium, or the front of a classroom, you don’t need much more than blank stares and faraway looks to tell you you’re not connecting. Take heart before your audience takes leave! You can convey your message in the powerful, life-changing way it deserves to be told. An insightful, entertaining parable that’s an excellent guide for any speaker, Communicating for a Change takes a simple approach to delivering effectively.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

It’s a good idea to keep your vision stories simple. The primary reason for this is that the human capacity to absorb multiple elements isn’t unlimited. When you are communicating a story, keep in mind the limitation of your listeners’ working memory. For the story to be useful, it must be neither too detailed nor too general. The simpler your story is, the more likely that people will comprehend and remember it.

Every time I stand to communicate I want to take one simple truth and lodge it in the heart of the listener. I want them to know that one thing and know what to do with it.

Determine Your Goal – What are you after when you speak or teach? What is the win? Smarter people? Changed people? People with more confidence in God? Your approach to communicating needs to match your goal.

Pick a Point – Point refers to one of three things: an application, an insight, or a principle. With this approach, the point serves as the glue to hold the other parts together.

Create a Map – Follow a five-word outline, each representing a section of the message.

  • ME (Orientation) – a dilemma the communicator has faced or is currently facing.
  • WE (Identification) – common ground with your audience.
  • GOD (Illumination) – transition to the text to discover what God says.
  • YOU (Application) – challenge your audience to act on what they have just heard.
  • WE (Inspiration) – close with several statements about what could happen if everybody embraced that particular truth.

Internalize the Message – you should be able to sit down at a table and communicate your message to an audience of two in a way that is both conversational and authentic.

Engage Your Audience – presentation trumps information when it comes to engaging the audience.

Find Your Voice – to develop an effective style you need to constantly ask yourself two questions:

  • What works?
  • What works for me?

Start All Over – when you get stuck, use these five questions to discover the one thing that the people God has entrusted to our care need to know.

  • What do they need to know? INFORMATION
  • Why do they need to know it? MOTIVATION
  • What do they need to do? APPLICATION
  • Why do they need to do it? INSPIRATION
  • How can I help them remember? REITERATION

Andy Stanley, Communicating for a Change

A NEXT STEP

Think of a recent situation where you were stuck in the preparation of a presentation, sermon, or teaching element. Take this situation to your next leadership team meeting for a collaborative session.

On a chart tablet, list Andy Stanley’s five questions from the “Start All Over” section above. For each of the five questions, solicit answers from your team in a true brainstorming session (no judgments allowed).

After completing each of the five questions, go back through the lists and circle the three most valuable phrases and comments for each question.

As a group, decide on which single word or phrase is your team’s best choice, and underline it.

To complete the exercise and make it useful for both individuals and groups in the future, spend 30 minutes talking through the process of the individual and team choices. Note any applications for future use when you are stuck in your preparation, and apply those applications to help you move forward.


As leaders, we communicate in all we say and do. We may be entertaining at times, we inform much of the time, and occasionally we must be directing in what we say. But in all situations, we can inspire and connect with our audience.


Taken from SUMS Remix 29-2, published December 2016


This is part of a weekly series posting content from one of the most innovative content sources in the church world: SUMS Remix Book Summaries for church leaders. SUMS Remix takes a practical problem in the church and looks at it with three solutions; and each solution is taken from a different book. As a church leader you get to scan relevant books based on practical tools and solutions to real ministry problems, not just by the cover of the book. Each post will have the edition number which shows the year and what number it is in the overall sequence. (SUMS provides 26 issues per year, delivered every other week to your inbox). 

> Subscribe to SUMS Remix <<

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

VRcurator

Bob Adams is Auxano's Vision Room Curator. His background includes over 23 years as an associate/executive pastor as well as 8 years as the Lead Consultant for a church design build company.

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Recent Comments
Sorry, the author of this content has removed the links at the original source!
 
— VRcurator
 
The hypertext link is broken for the pdf download - can it be fixed? Thanks!
 
— Steve Elliott
 
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Inspiring Communication Series: Convey One Truth

To help others see change, the leader must understand how to unlock the imagination.

The very act of imagination is connected to faith. The author of Hebrews writes, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). When a leader articulates, or provokes, a follower’s imagination, he or she is serving both God and the individual by exercising the muscle of faith.

Unlock the imagination of your audience by conveying one simple truth.

THE QUICK SUMMARY – Communicating for Change, by Andy Stanley and Lane Jones
Great stories capture and hold an audience’s attention from start to finish. Why should it be any different when you stand up to speak?

In Communicating for a Change, Andy Stanley and Lane Jones offer a unique strategy for communicators seeking to deliver captivating and practical messages. In this highly creative presentation, the authors unpack seven concepts that will empower you to engage and impact your audience in a way that leaves them wanting more.

Whether you speak from the pulpit, podium, or the front of a classroom, you don’t need much more than blank stares and faraway looks to tell you you’re not connecting. Take heart before your audience takes leave! You can convey your message in the powerful, life-changing way it deserves to be told. An insightful, entertaining parable that’s an excellent guide for any speaker, Communicating for a Change takes a simple approach to delivering effectively.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

It’s a good idea to keep your vision stories simple. The primary reason for this is that the human capacity to absorb multiple elements isn’t unlimited. When you are communicating a story, keep in mind the limitation of your listeners’ working memory. For the story to be useful, it must be neither too detailed nor too general. The simpler your story is, the more likely that people will comprehend and remember it.

Every time I stand to communicate I want to take one simple truth and lodge it in the heart of the listener. I want them to know that one thing and know what to do with it.

Determine Your Goal – What are you after when you speak or teach? What is the win? Smarter people? Changed people? People with more confidence in God? Your approach to communicating needs to match your goal.

Pick a Point – Point refers to one of three things: an application, an insight, or a principle. With this approach, the point serves as the glue to hold the other parts together.

Create a Map – Follow a five-word outline, each representing a section of the message.

  • ME (Orientation) – a dilemma the communicator has faced or is currently facing.
  • WE (Identification) – common ground with your audience.
  • GOD (Illumination) – transition to the text to discover what God says.
  • YOU (Application) – challenge your audience to act on what they have just heard.
  • WE (Inspiration) – close with several statements about what could happen if everybody embraced that particular truth.

Internalize the Message – you should be able to sit down at a table and communicate your message to an audience of two in a way that is both conversational and authentic.

Engage Your Audience – presentation trumps information when it comes to engaging the audience.

Find Your Voice – to develop an effective style you need to constantly ask yourself two questions:

  • What works?
  • What works for me?

Start All Over – when you get stuck, use these five questions to discover the one thing that the people God has entrusted to our care need to know.

What do they need to know? INFORMATION

Why do they need to know it? MOTIVATION

What do they need to do? APPLICATION

Why do they need to do it? INSPIRATION

How can I help them remember? REITERATION

Andy Stanley, Communicating for a Change

A NEXT STEP

 Think of a recent situation where you were stuck in the preparation of a presentation, sermon, or teaching element. Take this situation to your next leadership team meeting for a collaborative session.

On a chart tablet, list Andy Stanley’s five questions from the “Start All Over” section above. For each of the five questions, solicit answers from your team in a true brainstorming session (no judgments allowed).

After completing each of the five questions, go back through the lists and circle the three most valuable phrases and comments for each question.

As a group, decide on which single word or phrase is your team’s best choice, and underline it.

To complete the exercise and make it useful for both individuals and groups in the future, spend 30 minutes talking through the process of the individual and team choices. Note any applications for future use when you are stuck in your preparation, and apply those applications to help you move forward.

Taken from SUMS Remix 29-2, published December 2015.


 

This is part of a weekly series posting content from one of the most innovative content sources in the church world: SUMS Remix Book Summaries for church leaders. SUMS Remix takes a practical problem in the church and looks at it with three solutions; and each solution is taken from a different book. As a church leader you get to scan relevant books based on practical tools and solutions to real ministry problems, not just by the cover of the book. Each post will have the edition number which shows the year and what number it is in the overall sequence. (SUMS provides 26 issues per year, delivered every other week to your inbox). 

> Subscribe to SUMS Remix <<

Download PDF

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| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Communication >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

VRcurator

Bob Adams is Auxano's Vision Room Curator. His background includes over 23 years as an associate/executive pastor as well as 8 years as the Lead Consultant for a church design build company.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

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Recent Comments
Sorry, the author of this content has removed the links at the original source!
 
— VRcurator
 
The hypertext link is broken for the pdf download - can it be fixed? Thanks!
 
— Steve Elliott
 
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Beginning Your Discipleship Journey in a Weekend-Only Culture

Below is a weekly series posting content from one of the most innovative content sources in the church world: SUMS Remix Book Summaries for church leaders. SUMS Remix takes a practical problem in the church and looks at it with three solutions; and each solution is taken from a different book. As a church leader you get to scan relevant books based on practical tools and solutions to real ministry problems, not just by the cover of the book. Each post will have the edition number which shows the year and what number it is in the overall sequence. (SUMS provides 26 issues per year, delivered every other week to your inbox). 

>> Subscribe to SUMS Remix <<


Every church should have a clear, simple process for making disciples. Does yours?

Almost every church engages in some form of discipleship. When a pastor uses the Bible in a sermon, or a leader opens the Scriptures to a small group, the church is providing the initial phases, but lasting discipleship must go far beyond that.

If a new Christian who attends weekend worship services only asked for help in becoming more like Christ, what would your answer be? Would everyone in leadership give the same answer? Do you share a clear, simple first step? Followed by a second step?

But this is important for more than just a “new” Christian. How are you intentionally and methodically helping other believers to deepen their walk with Christ? How can you impact a “weekend only” culture and begin to instill basic disciple-making practices into your church’s life?

Solution #1: Build your system around shared faith catalysts.

THE QUICK SUMMARY – Deep and Wide, by Andy Stanley

Deep and Wide provides church leaders with an in-depth look into North Point Community Church and its strategy for creating churches unchurched people absolutely love to attend.

For the first time, Andy Stanley explains his strategy for preaching and programming to the “dual audience” of mature believers and cynical unbelievers. He argues that preaching to dual audiences doesn’t require communicators to “dumb down” the content. According to Stanley, it’s all in the approach.

You’ll be introduced to North Point’s spiritual formation model, “The Five Faith Catalysts,” as well as three essential ingredients for creating irresistible environments.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

When Andy Stanley and the team that launched North Point Community Church dealt with the question of spiritual formation or discipleship, they rejected a class-based, program-driven, curriculum based model. They didn’t believe that classes created mature believers, just smart believers. Instead, they developed a more holistic approach.

North Point’s mission statement is “to lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ.” The leadership team determined that faith is what grows in a growing relationship, and faith should be at the center of every healthy relationship. To achieve that, the team concluded that the best discipleship model would be one designed around “growing people’s faith.”

Over time, North Point developed five dynamics that repeatedly showed up in people’s faith stories. Their decision to create a ministry model around these five “catalysts” of faith was a defining moment for their church.

Your organization’s spiritual growth model is perfectly designed to produce the results you are currently getting.

The quest for spiritual maturity is a lifelong endeavor, and your approach to spiritual formation must be flexible and dynamic enough to support you through every season of life.

Here are five faith catalysts, five things God uses to grow your faith.

Practical Teaching – practical teaching that moves people to action. We are constantly asking our preachers and teachers:

  • What do you want them to know?
  • What do you want them to do?
  • What can we do to create next steps?

Private Disciplines – personal spiritual disciplines introduce a sense of intimacy and accountability to our faith walks. Private spiritual disciplines tune our hearts to the heart of God and underscore personal accountability to our heavenly Father. The way you talk about the Bible on the weekend will determine their interest in the Bible during the week.

Personal Ministry – few things stretch and thus grow our faith like stepping into a ministry environment for which we feel unprepared. If we ever get to the place where we are willing to make what we have available to God, amazing things will happen. Ministry forces us to be constantly dependent on God, and thus our faith is strengthened.

Providential Relationships – occur when we hear from God through someone or when we see God in someone. While it’s beyond our ability to manufacture any type of relationship, what we can do is create environments that are conducive to the development of these types of relationships. We constantly look for ways to get people connected more quickly and keep them connected longer.

Pivotal Circumstances – it’s not an event itself that grows or erodes our faith; it is our interpretation of the event that determined which way we went. The conclusions we draw about God in the midst of our pivotal circumstances drive us toward or away from Him.

– Andy Stanley, Deep and Wide

A NEXT STEP

Andy Stanley is always the first to warn church leaders “not to do what we do.” But he also makes no apology in pushing church leaders to closely examine the practices at their own churches to determine their validity for accomplishing the purposes they are designed to accomplish.

How about your church? Have you defined characteristics and habits of a growing disciple? What strategy do you follow in moving individuals toward a set Christ-centered of faith catalysts?

At your next team meeting, list on a whiteboard or chart tablet the most important attitudes, actions, or evidences of a growing disciple in your church.

As you look at your list, how could you combine or group these into “marks of a disciple” and categorize them into the four to 6 most important at this time.? How can you make them clear using compelling and catalytic language?

Now begins the intensive and ongoing leadership task of aligning your programs and systems to achieve these outcomes.

The real beauty in clarifying, focusing, and strengthening the disciple-making process of your church is this: the people who are growing will, by nature, take other people along with them.

Growing people grow people. Consuming people consume programs.

Without stating and integrating a simpler, intentional disciple-making process, your church will remain stuck in a bottleneck of the status quo and “weekend only” follow-ship.

When you build your discipleship system around shared faith catalysts, your church can develop an effectiveness of growing disciples.

To learn more about beginning your discipleship journey, start a conversation with the Auxano team today.

Taken from SUMS Remix 11-1, published March 2015


 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

VRcurator

Bob Adams is Auxano's Vision Room Curator. His background includes over 23 years as an associate/executive pastor as well as 8 years as the Lead Consultant for a church design build company.

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COMMENTS

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Recent Comments
Sorry, the author of this content has removed the links at the original source!
 
— VRcurator
 
The hypertext link is broken for the pdf download - can it be fixed? Thanks!
 
— Steve Elliott
 
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

The Secret to Overcoming Reluctance to Capital Campaigns

Beginning today is a new series routinely posting content from one of the most innovative content sources in the church world: SUMS Remix Book Summaries for church leaders.  SUMS Remix takes a practical problem in the church and looks at it with three solutions; and each solution is taken from a different book. As a church leader you get to scan relevant books based on practical tools and solutions to real ministry problems, not just by the cover of the book. Each post will have the edition number which shows the year and what number it is in the overall sequence. (SUMS provides 26 editions per year, delivered every other week to your inbox). 

>>> You can purchase a subscription to SUMS Remix here >>>

So what is Andy Stanley’s Killer Secret to Church Fundraising? It is using a powerful biblical principle and metaphor to reframe the believer’s opportunity to live a generous life. Here is the way we unpacked it last year in SUMS Remix:

PROBLEM STATEMENT  of Edition 1.7:  We have leaders who are reluctant to do another campaign. 

You have probably done capital campaigns before and many church goers are tired of the same old-school campaigns year after year. (By the way, that’s why we started Auxano campaigns as a vision-based resourcing service.)

Rallying people to a better future is not new.  Building leaders and directing energy is baseline to the human enterprise. But the church is still the HARDEST PLACE ON PLANET EARTH to focus. Whether it’s a breakout of congregational opinions, the rampant “sin of niceness” or a plague of risk aversion, getting the vision done is more fantasy than testimony.

Solution 1: Focus on the dynamics of fear vs. faith by using the biblical image of sowing seeds.

FieldsofGoldTHE QUICK SUMMARY

Fields of Gold is a practical and inspirational book based on the principle of sowing and reaping. If we sow fear, what will be our harvest? And conversely, if we sow faith, what will we grow?

In the book Andy Stanley unpacks our irrational fears about money, helping us to discover that generous giving is actually an invitation for our heavenly Father to get involved in our finances and resupply us with enough seed to sow generously throughout our lifetime.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

Many people would like to be generous givers. But the realities of steadily rising prices of everyday goods, shrinking retirement funds, and an uncertain world economy give us pause. The questions come like a rushing whirlwind, burying good intentions:

  • How much can I afford to give?
  • What if I give away too much?
  • What if there s not enough left for me?

As Christians, we know that we should give but sometimes it’s so hard to take that step of faith and let go when it comes to our finances. Under the growing pressures to make ends meet each month, it’s easy to become irrational in our thinking about God, his faithfulness, and our role as stewards of his resources.

That line of irrational thinking quickly leads to a fear that obscures both our thinking and the facts of how we know God wants us to handle our finances.

If we truly believe that God is who he says he is we have no reason to fear. Doesn’t it make sense to trust the God of the Universe with your finances? Isn’t it time to put aside the worry and start living in confidence?

When you begin to view your wealth from God’s perspective, you’ll see that the thing to fear isn’t giving away too much, but sowing too little.

It’s important to realize that fear and faith often go hand in hand. By nature, when you pursue a growing faith you increase your exposure to potential fears.

It’s no accident that the Bible addresses this condition head-on. There’s no drought when it comes to verses designed to help us let go of our fears and embrace our God-given calling to be generous stewards rather than fearful owners. In Matthew 6:33, Jesus assures us that when we seek His kingdom first with our seed, we need not fear being wiped out: … “he will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern.” (NLT)

When you begin to view your wealth from God’s perspective, you’ll see that the thing to fear isn’t giving away too much, but sowing too little.

You see, when we respond in fear to an invitation from God, we forfeit the reward of being faithful stewards. Sowing in faith results in an eternal crop. Cowering in fear yields empty fields.

Stepping outside your comfort zone is not careless irresponsibility, but a necessary act of obedience.

– Andy Stanley, Fields of Gold

A NEXT STEP

Fear and faith are parallel concepts that must live constantly in tension. Doubt and indecision are actually ingredients for both our fears and our faith. If everything was a certainty, where does faith come in? Our faith is engaged when we stand on the edge of the unknown. By relying less on the visible and more on the invisible, we begin to exercise our faith. And in that moment of faith, we often are vulnerable to fear. When it comes to giving, many Christians know they should give, but our fear of “what could be” overtakes our faith.

The answer to this challenge comes in the biblical metaphor of sowing. God provides for us (seeds). But seeds weren’t made for holding; they were made for sowing. Unless we sow our seeds, we will never know the harvest they will bring.

Overcoming the tension of our fear and faith requires a simple, but profound change in our concept of ownership. Answer these two questions:

  • Who really owns your possessions?
  • Who’s calling the shots for you financially?

If we truly understand and believe that God owns it all, we have no basis for fear. And, if God also is the source of all our wealth, and is in charge its increase and decrease, then we have no reason not to give.

The path to a secure financial future is to get God involved as soon as possible. The sooner you become a sower of seeds and not a hoarder, the sooner you will reap the harvest.

Once we realize that it really is better to give than to receive, there’s no limit to what God will do with our gifts.

Taken from SUMS Remix 7, published February 2015.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Will Mancini

Will Mancini

Will Mancini wants you and your ministry to experience the benefits of stunning, God-given clarity. As a pastor turned vision coach, Will has worked with an unprecedented variety of churches from growing megachurches and missional communities, to mainline revitalization and church plants. He is the founder of Auxano, creator of VisionRoom.com and the author of God Dreams and Church Unique.

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COMMENTS

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Recent Comments
Sorry, the author of this content has removed the links at the original source!
 
— VRcurator
 
The hypertext link is broken for the pdf download - can it be fixed? Thanks!
 
— Steve Elliott
 
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Preaching with Non-Believers in Mind: Learning from Andy Stanley and Tim Keller

Last year, I read Andy Stanley’s Deep & Wide: Creating Churches Unchurched People Love to Attend and Tim Keller’s Center Church: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City  back to back. An odd combination, I know.

These two pastors come from different contexts (Atlanta vs. New York) and different theological streams (Baptistic non-denominational vs. confessional Presbyterian). What’s more, they approach ministry from different starting points, then employ different methods to achieve their purposes.

Despite all these differences, there is one thing Stanley and Keller agree on: preachers ought to be mindful of the unbelievers in their congregation.

Different Reasons for the Same Practice

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.

This doesn’t mean we can’t find differences even in this area. For example, Stanley uses the terminology of “churched” and “unchurched” (which makes sense in the South), whereas Keller’s context leads him to terms like “believers” and “non-believers.”

Likewise, Stanley and Keller engage in similar practices from different vantage points. Stanley’s purpose for the weekend service is to create an atmosphere unchurched people love to attend. Keller believes evangelism and edification go together because believers and unbelievers alike need the gospel. He writes:

“Don’t just preach to your congregation for spiritual growth, assuming that everyone in attendance is a Christian; and don’t just preach the gospel evangelistically, thinking that Christians cannot grow from it. Evangelize as you edify, and edify as you evangelize.”

Whether you are closer to Stanley’s paradigm for ministry or Keller’s, you can benefit from a few suggestions for how to engage the lost people listening to you preach.

1. Acknowledge and welcome the non-believers in attendance.

Both Stanley and Keller mention the non-believers who are present. They go beyond a vague, quick welcome at the beginning of the service. Instead, these two pastors acknowledge that even though the non-believers may be uncomfortable, the church members are glad they are present. Here’s the way Stanley does it:

“If you are here for the first time and you don’t consider yourself a religious person, we are so glad you are here. Hang around here long enough and you will discover we aren’t all that religious either.”

“If you don’t consider yourself a Christian, or maybe you aren’t sure, you could not have picked a better weekend to join us.”

“If this is your first time in church or your first time in a long time, and you feel a little uncomfortable, relax. We don’t want anything from you. But we do want something for you. We want you to know the peace that comes from making peace with your heavenly Father.

“If this is your first time in church, or your first time in a long time, and you feel out of place because you think we are all good people and you are not so good, you need to know you are surrounded by people who have out-sinned you ten to one. Don’t let all these pretty faces fool you.”

Keller lets this kind of acknowledgement seep into his sermon preparation. He recommends the pastor address different groups directly, “showing that you know they are there, as though you are dialoguing with them.” Here’s an example:

“If you are committed to Christ, you may be thinking this – but the text answers that fear…”

“If you are not a Christian or not sure what you believe, then you surely must think this is narrow-minded – but the text says this, which speaks to this very issue…”

2. Assume the non-believers in attendance need help in approaching the Bible. 

For Stanley, this means explaining how to follow along with the biblical text for the sermon. It also means you teach about the Bible as you teach the Bible.

Here’s an example. Instead of saying “The Bible says…,” cite the authors instead. This way, you are giving information about who wrote the books of the Bible.

  • Option 1 – The Bible says that Jesus rose from the dead after being in the tomb for three days.
  • Option 2 – Matthew, an ex-tax collector who became one of Jesus’ followers, writes that Jesus rose from the dead and he claimed to have seen him. Not only that, Luke, a doctor who interviewed eyewitnesses, came to the conclusion that Jesus rose from the dead. He was so convinced he gave up his practice and became a church planter…

Option 2 is better because it doesn’t assume people know everything about the Bible. We should “always start on the bottom rung of the ladder.”

Likewise, Keller suggests pastors think carefully about the audience’s premises. He writes:

“Don’t assume, for example, that everyone listening trusts the Bible. So when you make a point from the Bible, it will help to show that some other trusted authority (such as empirical science) agrees with the Bible.”

While Keller’s approach is not fundamentally geared toward seekers, he still commends a seeker-comprehensible approach to worship that carefully explains the elements of the worship service.

  • Seek to worship and preach in the vernacular.
  • Explain the service as you go along.
  • Directly address and welcome nonbelievers.
  • Consider using highly skilled arts in worship.
  • Celebrate deeds of mercy and justice.
  • Present the sacraments so as to make the gospel clear.
  • Preach grace.

3. Challenge non-believers to engage the Bible by acknowledging the oddity of Christian belief and practice.

Keller believes that proper contextualization will cause the preacher to consider the way the message will fall on the ears of those in attendance. He writes:

“We must preach each passage with the particular objections of that people group firmly in mind.”

Hence, the use of “apologetic sidebars” in the sermon. Keller’s approach is to devote one of the three or four sermon points mainly to the doubts and concerns of nonbelievers.

Stanley makes a similar point:

“As a general rule, say what you suspect unbelievers are thinking. When you do, it gives you credibility. And it gives them space.”

When dealing with stringent moral commands in Scripture, Stanley will say things like:

“Today’s text may make you glad you aren’t a Christian! You may put it off indefinitely after today.”

He claims that whenever you give non-Christians an “out,” they often respond by leaning in.

Stanley uses humor as a way of disarming the audience and pushing them to engage the Bible on their own. In seeking to demolish their excuses, he will say things like, “You don’t have to believe it’s inspired to read it.” Or “You should read the Bible so you will have more moral authority when you tell people you don’t believe it.”

Likewise Keller recommends acknowledging common objections and treating the skeptics with dignity:

“Always show respect and empathy, even when you are challenging and critiquing, saying things such as, ‘I know many of you will find this disturbing.’ Show that you understand. Be the kind of person about whom people conclude that, even if they disagree with you, you are someone they can approach about such matters.”

4. Use cultural commonalities to point out worldview inconsistencies.

Keller recommends that all pastors look for two kinds of beliefs:

  • “A” beliefs – beliefs people already hold that, because of God’s common grace, roughly correspond to some parts of biblical teaching.
  • “B” beliefs – what may be called “defeater” beliefs – beliefs of the culture that lead listeners to find some Christian doctrines implausible or overtly offensive.

He explains why this is important:

One of the reasons we should take great care to affirm the “A” beliefs and doctrines is that they will become the premises, the jumping-off points, for challenging the culture… Our premises must be drawn wholly from the Bible, yet we will always find some things in a culture’s beliefs that are roughly true, things on which we can build our critique. We reveal inconsistencies in the cultural beliefs and assumptions about reality. With the authority of the Bible we allow one part of the culture – along with the Bible – to critique another part.

Conclusion

There’s no denying the significant differences between Andy Stanley and Tim Keller when it comes to theology and ministry. But we can learn from them both in how to respectfully engage the unsaved people in our midst. Keller is right:

We must avoid turning off listeners because we are cultural offensive rather than the gospel… On the other hand, our message and teaching must not eliminate the offense, the skandalon, of the cross. Proper contextualization means causing the right scandal – the one the gospel poses to all sinners – and removing all unnecessary ones.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Trevin Wax

Trevin Wax

My name is Trevin Wax. I am a follower of Jesus Christ. My wife is Corina, and we have two children: Timothy (7) and Julia (3). Currently, I serve the church by working at LifeWay Christian Resources as managing editor of The Gospel Project, a gospel-centered small group curriculum for all ages that focuses on the grand narrative of Scripture. I have been blogging regularly at Kingdom People since October 2006. I frequently contribute articles to other publications, such as Christianity Today. I also enjoy traveling and speaking at different churches and conferences. My first book, Holy Subversion: Allegiance to Christ in an Age of Rivals, was published by Crossway Books in January 2010. (Click here for excerpts and more information.) My second book, Counterfeit Gospels: Rediscovering the Good News in a World of False Hope(Moody Publishers) was released in April 2011.

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Creating a Come and See Culture

II. AN ENGAGING PRESENTATION

A. Engaging presentations are central to the success of our mission.

  1. Presenting the Gospel is a primary responsibility of the church. We are the only organization charged with that responsibility.
  2. “Teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” is the  unique responsibility of the church. (Matthew 28:20)

B. To engage is to secure one’s attention. In presentation, truth isn’t enough. It needs to be engaging. This is important to consider when deciding who is speaking, singing and presenting.

C. Generally speaking, it’s the presentation that makes information interesting. People usually eat either chicken, beef or fish. You determine what restaurant to eat at based on their presentation of the chicken, beef or fish. Presentation makes things interesting. Jesus made his content different than the teachers of his time. The audience attention span is determined by the quality of the presentation.

Engaging presentations require engaging presenters or an engaging means of presentation. Some people write good lessons, others present in an engaging manner. Separate the two. Let the good writers write, then turn it over to the good presenters for presenation.

QUESTIONS

  1. Is your culture characterized by a relentless commitment to engaging presentation at every level of the organization?
  2. Does your system allow you to put your best presenters in your most strategic presentation environments?
  3. Are your presenters evaluated and coached?
  4. Does your system create opportunities for your best content creators to partner with your presenters?

 

III. HELPFUL

A. Helpful = Useful

B. Helpful content is content that directly addresses thinking and living. It challenges people to think different or act different.

C. Content should be age targeted and specific.

  1. Is your content helpful? Presentation, not content, determines interest. Information that does not address a felt need is perceived as irrelevant.
  2. Do your content creators and communicators understand that the goals are renewed minds and changed behaviors?
  3. Is your content age and stage-of-life specific?

CONCLUSION:

Of every environment, program and production ask:

  1. Was the context appealing? Was the setting engaging?
  2. Was the presentation engaging?
  3. Was the content helpful?

This gets everyone thinking the same way. This is a clear filter to evaluate wins at North Point.

How are you creating a come and see culture at your church?

 

Read Page 1 here.

 

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Rob Cizek

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Sorry, the author of this content has removed the links at the original source!
 
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Clarity Process

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Creating a Come and See Culture

Here are the notes from Andy Stanley at Catalyst One Day Seattle 2012

Creating A Come-And-See Culture : Three Essential ingredients

INTRODUCTION

The church is a bunch of environments. Staff and volunteers are from various church backgrounds. Every person that shows up to do ministry has a picture in their head of what a win should be. The problem is that if everyone doesn’t have the same “win” in mind it creates problems. You need to develop 3-5 win definitions of your own.  North Point is unapoligcially  attractional. If Andy could heal people at will like Jesus did, he would. He cannot. Instead he can do great children’s ministry and have a great band.  Highlight the word “crowd” in the book of Mark. Everywhere Jesus went he was surrounded by people who couldn’t get enough of him. Jesus was attractional.

Every single program at your church is being evaluated every week by visitors and congregation members. If everyone is evaluating, shouldn’t we be too? When we get this right you create a lot of synergy with your staff. There will be far more wins because everyone is working from the same page.

1. AN APPEALING SETTING

A. Setting – the physical environment.

B. Settings create first impressions.

C. An uncomfortable or distracting setting can derail ministry before it begins. Andy doesn’t want issues in the environment to distract from ministry. For example, when asking people about their environment, North Point found that men want to know how long a service will be. Now they start each service by saying how long it will be. Now there is no concern about service length to distract from the worship experience.

D. Every physical environment communicates something. There are no neutral physical environments. Time in erodes awareness of. Do you even know what is in the lobby of your church?

  • Clean. Clean says “we’re expecting you.”
  • Organized. Organized says we are serious about what we are doing. A national bank lobby is the most organized because they want people to trust the bank with their money. “A business that looks orderly says to your customer that your people know what they are doing.” – Michael Gerber
  • Safe. Safe says we value your kids as if they were our own. Anything that communicates safety is an invitation for parents to leave their children with you.

E. Design, decor and attention to detail communicate what and who you value most. Don’t miss an opportunity to reach culture because you are afraid you are appealing to their consumer instincts.

F. Design, decor and attention to detail communicate whether or not you are expecting guests and whether your organization is insider- or outsider- focused.

G. Periodically, we all need fresh eyes on our ministry environments. If you ever had a babysitter you know what this is about. You arrive home and see everything that has happened, even if the sitter does not.

QUESTIONS

  1. Are your ministry settings appealing to your target audience?
  2. Does the design, deor and attention to detail of your environments reflect what and who is most important to you?
  3. What’s starting to look tired? Address it… unless you just want to keep the people you have.

 

Page 2

 

 

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Rob Cizek

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Sorry, the author of this content has removed the links at the original source!
 
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The hypertext link is broken for the pdf download - can it be fixed? Thanks!
 
— Steve Elliott
 
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.