Learning to Communicate Effectively as a Gospel Communicator Bundle Released

Do you desire to grow as a ministry leader in your communication?  Do you feel like you haven’t reached your full potential, but want to keep progressing?  At MultiplyLeaders we love helping leaders begin ministry with the right resources, attitudes, habits and perspectives to flourish for the long-haul.  We also find joy in helping stuck leaders unlock their potential in Jesus’ name.  

 

I am excited to point you to our newest resource as we seek to resource, coach and equip leaders to their full potential.

Click on this link for more information about the bundle so you can grow to your potential as a communicator.  

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Challenges to a Leader’s Conviction

Every leader faces struggles and setbacks that challenge their conviction and desire to communicate.

What takes the wind out your sails as a leader?

How do you respond?

8 Things that Challenge A Leader’s Conviction
1. A season of discouragement
2. Relationship conflict on your team
3. Insecurity
4. Challenges in your home/family
5. Personal sin/brokenness struggles
6. Apathy on your team
7. Lack of ownership from others
8. Burnout/exhaustion

There are many obstacles to leading and communicating with great conviction in a manner that inspires others.

Lead with your eyes on Jesus. Lead with your head and heart. Don’t give up when your conviction’s challenged. God will sustain you. Lean into him.

Keys to being an Effective Communicator as a Ministry Leader| Conviction

Being an effective communicator is hard work for most us. Its hard in the weekly grind to remember how important our 1v1 and large group communication opportunities are. God uses these moments to bring hope, healing and life transformation to others. Our words can be used to tear down, or they can be used to build up. I know you want to use your words to build because you are reading this to grow as a communicator. This will be a three part blog post on 3 Keys to Effective Communication.

To communicate effectively, it all starts with conviction. A leader must believe in what they are saying to lead others. We can’t simply go through the motions or say what we are expected to say by others.

Until you know why what you are suppose to communicate matters and really believe it can be used by God to encourage, challenge and build up the hearers, you aren’t ready to communicate. When we have conviction we passionately believe something and speak from the center of who we are. As ministry leaders, we must lead from the center of our soul so that we are communicating the reality of the resurrection by our presence.

Some may interpret conviction to mean yelling or animated and might accidentally come across as angry if they aren’t careful. Conviction shows up differently because of our different personalities, but it means that the hearers sense life being given to them in your words. They feel the importance and lean in, wanting to hear more because someone has wrestled enough with the text of God’s Word and the reality of our human condition to be able to speak into their life in a meaningful way.

Someone else has said you can have truth on ice or you can have truth on fire.

  • Do your hearers sense that you really believe what you are saying?
  • Do your hearers feel resurrection hope after being under your teaching?

Its not just the content that matters. The content is significant and our starting point. But we must work hard to have great (and faithful) content and conviction in the manner in which we communicate that content in a compelling way.

Both the content we communicate and the manner in which we communicate tell others listening something about who God is. Typically we think just the content communicates something about God. Make sure your content and presence in your delivery match up, so you aren’t sending mixed signals. Thankfully, we know our best is never good enough and God takes our weakness and uses it for his glory and others’ good. But that isn’t an excuse to not prepare or not value the hearers by giving your best. God uses us and never tells us to slouch, instead he calls and empowers us to our potential in Jesus. He has given you gifts and influence opportunities, grab onto them. Conviction starts by giving your best to understand and grasp the life-changing truths of God’s word. Then that conviction inspires those who are hearing when we embody the message as we teach.

We start with conviction, but we must get clarity or we will likely say many true things, but not with the laser focus needed. That is post #2. Look for it later this week.

Communicating for Change Book Notes from David Mays

http://www.davidmays.org/BN/StaComm.html

“Communicating for a Change

Andy Stanley and Lane Jones

Multnomah Publishers, 2006, 196 pp., ISBN 1-59052-514-0

 

Andy Stanley is senior pastor of North Point Community Church in Atlanta and Lane Jones is the campus director of Browns Bridge Community Church, a North Point Ministries campus.  This book includes what Andy Stanley has been teaching about preaching for twenty years.  The main point?  Organize everything to make one main point.

 

The first half of the book is a fable intended to illustrate how a pastor learns to preach well.  The second part details the seven-part process. 

 

“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.” 

 

“I’ve always thought of a sermon, or any talk for that matter, as a journey.  You start somewhere, you go somewhere, and ultimately you end up somewhere.  The question is, did you end up where you wanted to go?”  Did they discover a truth that will change their lives?  (38)

 

“You’ve got to narrow the focus of your message to one point.  Then everything else in the message supports, illustrates, and helps to make it memorable.” (39)

 

Outlines can be like an encyclopedia – lots of good information but boring.  But a map leads people on a journey that engages them in a story. (45)

 

Use a “relational outline,” one that builds around the relationships between you, the audience and God.  It goes like this: ME-WE-GOD-YOU-WE.  (46)

 

ME.  Introduce myself to them and let them get comfortable with me.

WE.  Make an emotional connection through what WE are thinking and feeling. 

GOD.  Introduce the biblical truth into the discussion

YOU.  What are you going to do about it?  The challenge

WE.  Casting a common vision for what would happen if we did it.  (46-49)

 

“Until you can stand up and tell a story, you’re not ready to preach.” (53)

 

“You have to connect with your audience around a real need in their lives.  Something they feel.”  Remind them of the tension they feel in their lives. (59)

 

“Every single person who sits politely and listens to you on Sunday is one decision away from moral, financial, and marital ruin.”  “What are you going to say?”  “There is much at stake.”  “The question you must answer is, to what extreme are willing to go to create a delivery system that will connect with the heart of your audience?” (88-9)

 

Imperative #1.  Determine your goal.  What are you trying to accomplish? (91)

 

“What is the win?”  “Our approach to communicating should be shaped by our goal in communicating.” (93)

 

Three ways to teach:

a)     Teach the Bible to people.  Verse by verse exposition is an example.  Goal is to explain what the Bible means.  “This approach requires no creativity.” (93)

b)     Teach people the Bible.  Impart biblical truth into the mind and heart of the hearer.  Use outlines and alliteration, etc., so they will remember.  Goal: Did they understand and remember?  Goal is information transfer.

c)     Teach people how to live a life that reflects the values, principles, and truths of the Bible.  The goal is change. (95)

 

“Preaching for life change requires far less information and more application.  Less explanation and more inspiration.” (96) 

 

“If we really want to take our cue from the apostle Paul we should address the specific issues confronting the people in our audience.  That’s why I weave a message about sexual purity or money into just about every series we do.  It’s why we program an entire series around the family life every spring.  Those are three issues that consume the time and attention of the average man and woman.” (97) 

 

You must answer two questions: “So what?” and “Now what?”  “Our audience won’t do much with what we’ve taught until we tell ’em what they ought to do.” (97)

 

Imperative #2.  Pick a Point.  Communicate a single idea, a specific thing to be accomplished, a bottom line.  Plan with the end in mind. (101)  A point is an application, an insight, or a principle.  (103)

 

“What is the one thing I want my audience to know?

“What do I want them to do about it?  (104)

 

Build everything around the main point.  Dig until you find the main point.  Build everything around it.  Make it stick. 

 

The main point may come late in the game because “sermon preparation is a discovery process. Preparation involves discovering what the text says and what it doesn’t say, what we with it would say, what we didn’t expect it to say.  At the same time message preparation involves holding up the text to the scrutiny of experience.  Bridging the cultural divide of first and twenty-first century isn’t always easy…but it is always necessary if we are going to communicate for change rather than information transfer.” (106)

 

“Once you discover a text or narrative that addresses your great idea, let the Bible speak.” (107)  “Let the text speak for itself.  When it agrees with your preconceived ideas, great.  When it doesn’t, dig in and learn something.  And keep digging until you unearth the one thing.” (108)

 

“If you don’t take the time to reorient your message around the one thing, it will get lost amongst the other things.” (110)

 

“The next step is to craft a single statement or phrase that makes it stick.  It needs to be as memorable as possible.” (110) 

 

“The one thing isn’t just information.  It is not just a carefully crafted phrase.  It is literally a burden.  It is a burden that weighs so heavily on the heart of the communicator that he or she must deliver it.” (113)  “A burden brings passion to preaching.  It transforms lifeless theology into compelling truth.” (114)

 

Imperative #3.  Create a map.  “What’s the best route to your point?”  (119)

ME – A dilemma the speaker has faced or is facing.

WE – Common ground with the audience around a similar dilemma

GOD – Transition to the text to discover what God says about it.

YOU – Challenge your audience to act on what they heard

WE – What could happen in your community, church or world, if we all did.  (120)

 

Two extremes with the text: skip along the surface without really engaging the text or getting bogged down too deep.  (126)

 

YOU –  “My preference is to find one point of application that I can challenge everybody to embrace.  I rarely ask people to make a life-altering commitment to anything.  I don’t think that is realistic.” (127) 

 

Imperative #4.  Internalize the message.  “What’s your story?”  (133)

 

“Before we stand…to deliver a message, we must own it.”  You should be able to communicate the message as an authentic conversation.  “The message must in some way become a personal story you could tell as if drawing from personal experience.” (135) 

 

“The secret is to reduce your entire message down to five or six pieces.”  Remember the big pieces and you’re a go.  (137)  “When you are committed to internalizing the entire message you will be highly motivated to reduce it to the bare but essential minimum.  And if you are only going to make a point, it is not hard to identify what to cut.” (142)

 

“Stories are easy to remember and repeat.  So are good sermons.  Why?  Because good sermons are like a good movie or a good book.  They engage you at the beginning by creating some kind of tension.  They resolve that tension.  There is a climax.  And then there is a conclusion that ties up all the loose ends.” (143)

 

Imperative #5.  Engage your audience.

 

“How you say what you say is as important as what you say.  Presentation determines your audience’s attention span.” (146)  “It’s our preparation and presentation that will keep people engaged.”  (147)

 

We don’t need new content as much as we need fresh presentations. (148) 

 

First pose a question your audience wants answered or create a tension they need resolved or point to a mystery they have been unable to solve.  (153)

 

Three pairs of questions to ask about your introduction:

  • “What is the question I am answering?  What can I do to get my audience to want to know the answer to that question?
  • What is the tension this message will resolve?  What can I do to make my audience feel that tension?
  • What mystery does this message solve?  What can I do to make my audience want a solution?” (154)

 

Write out your transitions.  They help people stay with you.  Don’t take the right angle turns too fast.  (158)

 

Rules for engaging people with the text: (159)

  • Turn to one passage and just one passage.  Pick one central text and teach it.
  • Don’t read long sections without comment.  Lead people through the text.
  • Highlight and explain odd words or phrases.  But keep moving.
  • Voice your frustration or skepticism about the text.
  • [And several more]

 

Add something unexpected.  Plan something unusual.  You know how people respond when something unusual happens. (162-3) 

 

Be direct.  Let your audience know early where you are going. (164) 

 

Imperative #6  Find your voice. (169)

“My style can become a smoke screen for any number of bad communication habits.”   “Be who you are.  But be the very best communicator you can possibly be.” (170)

 

“Clarity trumps just about everything.” (175) 

 

Imperative #7.  Start all over.  What’s the next step?  (183)

“The first thing I do when I get stuck is pray.” “I get on my knees and remind God that this was not my idea, it was His.  He let me volunteer.  I confess that every opportunity I have to pen His word in front of people comes from Him and that anything helpful I’ve ever said came from Him.” (184)  “Then I ask God to show me if there is something He wants to say to prepare me for what He wants me to communicate to our congregation.  I surrender my ideas, my outline, and my topic.  Then I just stay in that quiet place until God quiets my heart.  It may be a few minutes.  I may be much longer.” (185)

 

“I pray before, during, and after!  I’m just telling you what I do when I get stuck.” (185)

 

“If I still lack clarity I go back to basics.  I pull out my trusted list of questions and start over.” (186) 

 

“1  What do they need to know?          INFORMATION

2.  Why do they need to know it?         MOTIVATION

3.  What do they need to do?                      APPLICATION

4.  Why do they need to do it?             INSPIRATION

5.  How can I help them remember?    REITERATION”  (191)”

http://www.davidmays.org/BN/StaComm.html

Vision Quote from Making Vision Stick

If God has given you a picture of what could and should be, embrace it fully and refuse to allow the busyness and urgency of life to distract you. […] Seeing a vision become a reality requires more than a single burst of energy or creativity. It requires daily attention. Daily commitment (72-73).

Making Vision Stick by Andy Stanley

The Insider Challenge…Have You Been in Too Long?

When we are new to an organization or team we can see with fresh eyes issues that everyone else seems to be unaware of.  But the longer are on that team, the longer we are in that organization, the less likely we will be to see with the same fresh eyes. What you see as an outsider changes as you become an insider.  The longer you are an insider, the less you can see with an outsiders perspective.  Everyone thinks they’re communicating clearly, but over time we face the insider challenge, because we forget to keep telling outsiders/newbies the channels we are communicating through.  You can be communicating great through email, but if no one is signed up on your email list then your communication is failing.  Same with your website.  You might have it up to date and loaded with helpful and inspiring info, but if you don’t lead everyone to know with clarity that the website is the main means of getting information, there will be a serious breakdown.

In the technological age we live in, we must be clear about the channels we are communicating through and consistent in our communication of these channels. The “insider challenge” blinds us from seeing ourselves or our organizations/ministries with the objectivity we think we are looking at them with.  This principle should cause anyone who is leading anything not to assume your effectiveness in communicating your vision, strategy events.  It should cause us to reflect and ask: “Are we really as welcoming to new people as we think we are?”  If we feel welcomed and we’ve been there for eight years we might think everyone feels welcomed…that is the insider challenge at work.

To lead any team/organization or ministry effectively we must regularly ask questions of those outside of our immediate circles and regular feedback loops to make sure the “insider challenge” isn’t causing us to live with false assumptions that will hold us back from more fully realizing the mission!

How to Navigate the “Insider Challenge:”

  • Ask how does a new person feel walking into our building/restaurant/church?
  • What are the main questions new people to our church/business/website might be asking?
  • How are we answering these important questions?  Do they have to search hard or is it easy to find what they are looking for?
  • What assumptions do we hold that may need to be challenged?
  • What have we been doing that isn’t effective anymore?
  • Put yourself in the perspective of first time visitors, average person within your community, average business customer.  Look at everything through their perspective
  • Communicate with clarity the channels you will communicate through
  • Communicate consistently in these channels

A Leader’s Vision

Have you ever had a moment when you were so gripped by the potential of the future that your heart beat a little faster?  Have you ever had such clarity of what God might do in your life, in your church, in your community that you were moved to tears of wonder and hopefulness?  It comes sometimes unexpectedly, other times as we are experiencing rapid growth.  You don’t have to be a “leader” or pastor to experience this moment, but this post is directed toward leaders.

How is your vision in this season? Is it red hot? Clear? Is it mouth-watering, soul inspiring?  Is it energizing to you and does it leak out of you constantly? Or has fatigue or burnout overtaken hope?  Has the clutter and daily grind deflated your imagination?  Does the mission still resound inside of you or have you welcomed apathy and stopped resisting?

I have experienced both as a leader.  It is clearer to me now more than ever that it is a leader’s responsibility to keep their vision cup filled and overflowing.

Ways I fill the vision cup:

Be with God. Rest. Practice Sabbath.

Reflect on God’s presence and grace among us as a community and in larger world

Reflect on my own journey of transformation

Reflect on the scriptures

Dream with redemptive potential

Listen to others whose vision is red hot

Make sure I am around some passionate people who live with eyes of faith

Read as much as I can from authors who are hungry, visionary leaders

How about you? Are you currently in a season of red hot or a sense of drought?

What do you do when you find yourself in a place where your vision is cold?

How do you work through it?

How do you fill or put yourself in a place to be filled with faith inspiring vision?