Continuing my post from Tuesday...
#5 - Listen to God
Someone once asked me about the amount of time I study and then said, “Perry, with that much time put into study and preparation—I just feel that leaves no room for God to move.”
I shocked them when I said, “Every week I say something during the message that was not planned…AND…in every service that I do it is different. The Lord will often bring something to mind in a service that He did not bring to mind in the other services…and I have an obligation to speak what He lays on my heart.”
Just like the Sunday I spoke on vision here at NewSpring. After the U2 video I walked back out on stage and the Lord spoke to my heart and said, “Give an invitation.” I thought that was the craziest thing ever because we hadn’t really planned for that…but the feeling was STRONG…so I did…and over 150 people gave their lives to Christ.
GOD KNOWS WHAT HE’S DOING! Study…prepare…pray…and then be obedient.
#6 - Evaluate the message on the front end
I know this is going to sound like I am bragging…AND…I almost didn’t say this…but I’ve got to. We don’t lay very many eggs here at NewSpring when it comes to the messages…BECAUSE…we have a process in place so that, if a message is going to be an “egg,” then we crack it through the process of a creative team.
Every week…EVERY SINGLE WEEK I run the message by a group of between 4-8 people. We go through it theologically to make sure that we are teaching sound doctrine. We go through the points of application so that we are sure people are walking away with something they can use. And we also look at it from a creative point of view to see what can be added to REALLY get a certain point across. (This Sunday is going to be really cool!!! Someone had a great idea!)
Let me say this…this meeting has protected me so many times. I have people who love me…BUT love me enough to tell me the truth…AND if they are having a hard time understanding a concept—they tell me. I have learned that if I can’t explain it in that room then I won’t be able to explain it on Sunday.
ALSO during this meeting we brainstorm through future sermon series ideas and concepts that we feel that should be addressed on a Sunday. More on this later….
Let me say this and I will move on…pastors, you have some incredible creative people on your staff, it is up to you to find out who they are.
#7 - Be yourself
When speaking YOU have to be YOU!
I do not have a fake preacher voice!!! I don’t know about you—but that just bothers the heck out of me. I try my best to be real! I talk about the times I get things right…and I am also honest about the times I don’t get it right. I am transparent and honest…and while some don’t agree with this approach I would simply say, “It works for me.”
Once a pastor challenged me on this and said, “You don’t need to tell people about your mistakes, you need to give them someone to look up to.” I told him, “I do give them someone to look up to…His name is Jesus. If they look up to me all their lives and don’t know Christ then they will spend eternity in hell—and I just don’t care about looking good in people’s eyes to carry that weight into eternity!”
Now pastors, be wise…don’t use sermon time and confession time. BUT…what I have discovered is that if people in the audience feel like they can identify with you then they are more likely to listen. People don’t want to be yelled at and told they are screw ups—they want to see that there are people out there who ARE trying, who MISS IT at times…but who get right back up and try it again.
That’s it for us…like I always say, might not work for you…take what you can, throw away the rest! :-)