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Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Pointed Communication

My friend Matt Dabbs posted about Andy Stanley's practice of preaching recently. Stanley wrote a book called:Communicating for a Change: Seven Keys to Irresistible Communication (affiliate link) where he describes his practice of boiling down his sermons to just one point. Matt says:
This does two things. It defines the focus of the sermon by setting the one thing that everything in the sermon needs to point back to and support. Next, it gives direction by setting up what the sermon must communicate in order to produce the desired result, call, or action on the audience. Let’s face it, change isn’t change unless something happens and pew sitting alone isn’t that something.
And I agree. It's important to communicate well and in order to do that you need to know what you are trying to say. One of the biggest obstacles to good communication is trying to provide too much information in too little time. I first learned this principle when I taught the Junior High class at church - I could make one point with those kids, so I chose it and honed in on it with everything in the class.

My experience with Andy Stanley's preaching, however, is that he takes this principle too far. He doesn't really allow for variation or sub-points within his main point. He just makes the same point repeatedly. For me this had the effect of making me tune out and get bored. It was very similar to a Saturday Night Live sketch where they make one joke in the first 30 seconds and then continue to ride that same joke, ad nauseum for the next five minutes.

What if we make one point, but we make it in different ways and look at it from different angles? What if we use all of the communication tools at our disposal to create mystery, drama, inductive reasoning, empathy, and passion as we communicate our one point?

What do you think?

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