Book Review: Communicating For A Change
Andy Stanley & Lane Jones
As a missionary, I find myself in an unusual position when it comes to applying all I learned in Bible college about preaching. You see, I currently rarely speak to the same audience twice as I travel around the country, challenging churches for missions and sharing the ministry to the Philippines I represent. As a result, rather than crafting a new sermon every week (or 2 or 3…), I recycle my messages, honing them to their most effective and tweaking them for every unique audience. No two churches are the same and, although I use the same basic message, it never comes out the same either. Through the variable of the Spirit moving and leading me in my speech and the Spirit working in the individual hearts of those listening, the effect of the message is always unique to the church I am visiting. That being said, this current situation won’t always be the case in regards to my preaching experience and I am eager to continually improve my ability to communicate the message God has laid on my heart.
This book was a challenging and refreshing read for that very purpose. Andy Stanley cuts to the heart of why preaching is both relevant and life-changing and aptly illustrates how to retrain our focus away from just going through the motions and back to preparing a message from God to man. Probably the single biggest point he got across to me was the need to communicate just one single point and cut out the excess. I realize now that there were Sundays that I thought I was preaching a message on missions, but in reality I was really preaching a 3-month sermon series, condensed down into a single information overload. People were undoubtedly walking away overwhelmed by everything I had worked into my message and forgetting most of it by lunchtime. But now I am keeping my eyes open to my natural tendency to say too much and now I working to hone in on a single point for them to take away and remember.
I have yet to write a brand new sermon since reading this book but I am eager to start that process this next week and apply the many great lessons I learned.