Saturday, January 19, 2013

13 questions to help pastors move a message from the head to the heart

Yes, it's all about God, not us. "Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to Your name give glory" (Psalm 115:1).

So, a preacher who makes much of himself in a message is a narcissistic mess. "Him [Christ - the hope of glory] we proclaim" (Colossians 1:28).

So, it's all about God. Not the preacher.

But the 19th century preacher, Philips Brooks, said, "Preaching is truth through personality." I believe he's right. I believe that's supported by scripture. Paul once wrote, "So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us" (I Thessalonians 2:8).

Sometimes a message can be good, solid, and accurate. It can explain the text well. It can impart strong information.

But the personality of the man can be missing. Preachers dare not forget that even the introverts must be relational, connecting, personable,and warm-hearted up front.

So, before you preach tomorrow, sit down for an hour an answer some questions.
  • Why does this passage/truth/topic matter to YOU? 
  • What is YOUR vision for the people regarding this? 
  • Where do YOU struggle with this? 
  • Why do YOU struggle with this? 
  • How has God helped YOU grow in this area? 
  • Who taught YOU most about this? 
  • What are one or two things YOU have been prompted to do to grow in this area? 
  • How have YOU gained victories in this? 
  • What is a story about this that has changed YOU, inspired YOU, convicted YOU, challenged YOU, encouraged YOU? 
  • Where are YOU wanting to take us because we live this way? 
  • How do YOU see our lives being different if we live new in this way? 
  • Again, why does this matter to YOU? 
Give your people more of God... through YOU!!!

Answer some of these questions and weave them into your current message. (You'll likely have to delete some current content to do it.)

Again, Philips Brooks said, "Preaching is truth through personality." Your people likely need more of YOUR persona, YOUR personhood, YOUR personality.

Impart the information well. But don't forget to give the people more inspiration. More motivation. More vision. More reasons to change. More understanding of what's at stake. More of how God's story has impacted YOU.

I am not trying to give you more work to do on a Saturday. (Well, maybe I am!) But I think deleting a little content and giving us more of YOUR passion will move your message from good to great.

Question: How do you think preachers could connect more relationally with their congregations in a message?

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