6 Questions Every Communicator Must Ask Before They Preach


We live in an age where there is more information available to us than ever before. When I was a kid I did my research papers using encyclopedias, studied using a concordance. If you are under the age of 30 and are reading this you have no idea what I am talking about. Here is where our world has change for the better and for the worse, we no longer need those study methods because we have the internet. The problem with the internet is that even though you can get lots of good information you can also allow your thoughts and ideas to be diluted and even confused by the diversity of thoughts and ideas available online. One of the ways I try to overcome this is by passing thoughts and information through a series of questions. If you are a bible story-teller for kids church, a youth pastor or on an adult preaching team these questions will apply.

5 Questions every communicator must ask before they preach

1. Could I preach this message in a synagogue or in a Mormon Tabernacle? If so it’s not the gospel. –
2. Am I being faithful to the text? Am I allowing the text to speak or am I trying to get the text to say what I want it to say?
3. Do I have any practical application?
4. Does my application leave people with a sense that “if I do this then….” or does my application leave people with a sense “That if I do this and trust Jesus then….”
5. What’s my motivation? Will at the end of the message will I have been thought of as a brilliant communicator or will I point those in attendance (myself included) to their daily need for a brilliant savior.
6. Will the end result of this message be the worship and glorification of Christ?

Creative ways to communicate to kids: Self Interview

Kids are the best critics because they haven’t learned the subtle art of not offending others with brutal honesty. When you are boring they will call you on it. I remember one time I thought the lesson was going well. The kids were a bit non-responsive I figured they were tired…until one of the kids I was teaching stood up cupped his mouth with his hands and said “This is boring!” Ouch. It’s moments like that has forced me as someone who has communicated to kids for the past 18 years to always be looking for creative ways to communicate to kids. To give them truth in ways they aren’t always expecting. The keep the “This is boring” kids on the edge of their seats.

One of the ways we have done that over the years is called the “Self-Interview.” Basically you write a script and play both parts. The kids love this because they are on to your game they feel that they know something you don’t. They feel like they have insider info and pay closer attention.

Orange Week: Rules of Engagement

The best breakout for me by far was at the first year I attended Orange. It was done by Reed Dickens. He is an amazing communicator he was very clear and convincing. What I loved most was I got new ideas about things that Reed wasn’t even talking about. To me a great breakout is one that inspires you to think about things that are possible rather than zone out and think about lunch. I am happy to tell you most of the Orange conference breakouts are fantastic. Do they have some duds sure they do, but all in all out of all the conferences I have been to Orange has some of the best ones I have been to.

Before I give you my notes for the breakout I want to address one misconception. People think because Orange puts this conference on they shove their curriculum down your throat. They do not. I really appreciate the fact they teach things in the form of principles and not formulas.

Rules of Engagement:The Art of Communication
Reed Dickens

Reed Dickens is the former White House assistant press secretary. A regular contributor on Larry King Live, and CEO of Outside Eyes, a multi-million dollar consulting firm that specializes in media strategy and crisis management.

Big Idea – Goal of communication – To effect behavior – To get someone to do something.

Key Thoughts –

Two keys to success in communication

  1. Likable (be yourself and hope people like you)
  2. Reasonable. (Hard work)
    1. Be honest
    2. Make Concessions when necessary (builds credibility more than anything else)

Communication is about understanding people and then having a conversation It’s about content and delivery

Communication is an art and a science – You have to master the art and understand the science

What you intent to say is not is important is how it is perceived.

Much of the communication that takes place now days is in email, texts and on the web A rule of thumb for digital communications Do not send email that involves emotion – You shouldn’t put anything in an email that you wouldn’t put on the letter head of the church

Message prep –

  1. One sentence rule – Say what you want to say want in one sentence. Start with it end with it and use it thematically.
  2. Message box – Boundary between what you don’t know and you can’t discuss – You need to stay on message. You can’t be an expert on everything if you try you do you will get into trouble.

Questions I need to ask myself –

This was a fantastic breakout defiantly one of the best ones I attended at Orange.

Why is the church world so far behind when it comes to things like media relations viral messaging?

Why do we think that we should get the benefit of the doubt in a world full of doubt that we have helped create.

Is reducing truth and vision to once sentence a good thing for churches.

Does your church have a message box?

Why do I think that my intentions in Christ’s name are more important than the perception I create in his name?

When I get up to speak do I given enough thought to connecting and being likable.

Where does the line between Concessions and compromise lie?