Pastor’s Notes: Reverse Gears

I don’t remember where I picked up this little tip. I have read books and attended workshops on effective preaching. At this point in my life many of my friends are pastors and preachers but as a younger man I gave some time and attention to improving my craft. One piece of advice that would benefit any public speaker, it doesn’t have to be in the pulpit, is about effective illustrations. If you are going to use wiring in a light switch to make a point, make sure you know what you are talking about. There is probably at least one person in your audience, perhaps a professional electrician, that will know if your illustration is made poorly. If you are going to compare your topic to changing the oil in a car, planting a garden, sewing on a button, programming HTML or whatever might be helpful, make sure you are well informed if not an expert on the subject you use as a reference. Don’t assume no one will know the difference; someone will know if you say something wrong and then you will lose credibility. If they see you as poorly informed about building a bookcase, they may also lose confidence in your knowledge of the Bible (or whatever field you may be speaking to if it’s not the Bible). If you provide sloppy illustrations with erroneous information maybe you’re sloppy with your Bible study or lazy in sermon prep. As public speaking goes, teaching the Bible or preaching the Gospel needs to be done well.

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Pastor’s Notes: Leadership

I came across a question about leadership this week in a Facebook group. What does good leadership look like? Several options were suggested ranging from control to chaos. It was a Christian group so I assume that Christian leadership was the topic. My response went something like this.

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I Will Pray for You

How often do we say that? Maybe you run into a friend at the grocery store. You talk about recent events, ball games, what grades the kids are in and your friend mentions a relative in the hospital, some big life event or whatever and ends with “pray for us” and begins moving away. “I will” you say as you check your list and keep shopping. Sometimes we get real requests for prayer from people that are seriously hurting. Do we say “I will pray for you” just to make them feel a little better or do we really mean we are going to spend time in prayer with God interceding on their behalf?

“Hey, how are you?” is a casual greeting that doesn’t mean much anymore. We don’t really want to know, and might get annoyed if they set in explaining how they have been. “I will pray for you” needs to be more than that. It would be better left unsaid than casually dismissed in passing. Sometimes we say it in all earnestness but life happens and that person, and the need, slips away. The next time you say “I will pray for you” if at all possible stop and do it right then. It might have to be a 10 or 20 second sound bite if you’re at work or holding up a line somewhere. Saying you will pray is one thing; making it so is something else. It will ensure that you do not forget altogether and maybe you could pray again later as well.

Pastor’s Notes

I often tell people that I’ve learned two great lessons in life. I can’t think of the first one right now but the second is that I have to start writing stuff down. The biggest lie I tell myself is that if I have an idea for a sermon illustration or a topic for a blog post I will remember it when I need to. That’s just not true. So I’ve decided going forward that if I have an idea, a clever thought for an illustration, even a single point that might become an outline, I’m going to go ahead and drop them here. Instead of waiting for posts to magically finish themselves I will share ideas that you might see again someday as a complete article.

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