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?

Video of Gabriel speaking to Zachariah

Looking for a video bumper to lead into the story of Gabriel telling Zachariah his wife would have a baby? Look no further. Check out this video that our team made for this weeks Bible story. So appreciate Lori (who shot and edited it) Tim who was Gabriel and Matt who was Zachariah stuck in traffic. As a parent and a Pastor of families it is so moving to see people who take what they are given make it their own and make it better. Love the team we have and their passion to distil gospel truth to the kids of our church. Awesome job guys this video is just to fun.

The surprising truth behind creativity

“Creativity is not coming up with new things but finding new ways to communicate old things”

Ecclesiastes 1:9
What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.

The older I get and the longer I do ministry the more I realize that creativity is not coming up with something new. It’s reintroducing the old in a new way. One of the primary problems with the lack of creativity in any setting is due to what C.S. Lewis calls chronological snobbery.

“Barfield never made me an Anthroposophist, but his counterattacks destroyed forever two elements in my own thought. In the first place he made short work of what I have called my “chronological snobbery,” the uncritical acceptance of the intellectual climate common to our own age and the assumption that whatever has gone out of date is on that account discredited. You must find why it went out of date. Was it ever refuted (and if so by whom, where, and how conclusively) or did it merely die away as fashions do? If the latter, this tells us nothing about its truth or falsehood. From seeing this, one passes to the realization that our own age is also “a period,” and certainly has, like all periods, its own characteristic illusions. They are likeliest to lurk in those widespread assumptions which are so ingrained in the age that no one dares to attack or feels it necessary to defend them.”

What Lewis is getting at is we have a tendency to prefer new over old. Rather than really wrestling something to the ground and understanding it we tend to echo what already is poplar because we want to like more than we want to be effective. Creativity is copying what is already out there. Creativity is taking old ideas and making them new. It’s contextualizing things that are ancient and helping people see the value of what has always been valuable.

Our ability to create for the future is connected to the past. How well do we remember and understand the past will determine how effective we will be in the present and future. This sounds counter intuitive I know. Let me give you an example. Walt Disney. He is remembered for his creative vision of the future. While this is part of his creative legacy the reality is that he built the empire that we see today on a modern retelling of old Fairy Tales. If there was no Hans Christian Andersen there would likely be no Disney World, at least not the Disney we know and love.

Creativity works best when it is repackaging old things in such a way that you maintain what is core to the old truth and change the delivery mechanism. The more I read old books the more I realize that modern success is foundational dependent on past truth. So in our quest for creativity let not throw out the foundational things that allow us to build truth in creative ways. Part of the reason we fail to see the value of old things in creativity is because we look at creation in Genesis and see a God who made something from nothing. What we fail to do is looking to Revelation 21 where we see a God who makes old things new both are creativity. The later is what I believe we are called to as stewards of what God has made. We are called to make old things new.

 

The New Needs Friends

How to fight the inner critic and befriend the new.

In the book Creativity Inc, By Ed Catmull at one point he talked about the importance of protecting the new. He then quoted the amazing monologue delivered by Anton Ego in Ratatouille.

In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to
our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and
to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the
grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more
meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times
when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and
defense of the new. The world is often unkind to new talent, new
creations. The new needs friends. Last night, I experienced something
new, an extra-ordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say
that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions about
fine cooking is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core.
In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau’s
famous motto: ‘Anyone can cook.’ But I realize, only now do I truly
understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a
great artist can come from anywhere. – Anton Ego

I have always been an innovative person who learns through iteration, trial and error. I find however as I grow older that I more easily stick to what I know because I know it works. The beauty of age is experience. The danger of age is becoming critical of the new. I meet many people who talk more about what they have done than what they are doing. 

Being a critic is much less costly than being an artist. Left to ourselves we slip into the criticism of the new rather than become a friend of the new.