Less Fashion, More Fire!

kneeling_in_prayer“In the last days.. People will have the appearance of godliness, but deny its power.” (2 Tim 3)

I love fashion but fashion doesn’t save someone from hell. It seems like some preachers are more concerned for how they looked than how their sermon was cooked. Leonard Ravenhill once said,

No man is greater than his prayer life. The pastor who is not praying is playing; the people who are not praying are straying. We have many organisers, but few agonizers; many players and payers, few prayers; many singers, few clingers; lots of pastors; few wrestlers; many fears, few tears; much fashion, little passion; many interferers, few intercessors; many writers, but few fighters. Failing here, we fail everywhere.

Keys to Communication!

IMG_1240I recently posted on Communication Carries Anointing and emphasised the importance of developing communication skills, both of a conversational and corporate nature. Here are some further tips to take your communication to the next level.

1 Big Idea! All good communication theory emphasises the centrality of 1 big idea. No matter what you are reading or who you are listening to, ask yourself 2 questions, “What is the writer/speaker talking about?” AND “What is the writer/speaker saying about what they are talking about?” In 1 Corinthians 13 Paul is talking about “Love” but in context of 1 Corinthians 12 and 14 he’s saying that love should be the motivation for why we do what we do, especially in the arena of spiritual gifts. Listen and look for the 1 big idea. A great read on this is “Biblical Preaching” by Haddon Robinson.

Clarity trumps clever! A lot of us want to be clever but very few of us can pull it off. However, clarity will trump clever every time. Stop trying to be clever and work hard on making your ideas as concrete and clear as possible and people will connect with them more. Confusion in the pulpit will lead to confusion in the pew. Putting your ideas to paper helps clarify them. A great resource for this is a book titled “Make it Stick” by Chip and Dan Heath (I think).

Anointing doesn’t make up for lack of discipline! Practice, Practice, Practice. Every Friday morning for 2 years I practiced my weekend sermon in an empty auditorium with my parents listening and critiquing my content and presentation.

Tell lots of Stories! Everyone loves a good story. A good story will communicate your principle for you. Learn to tell stories well by finding them in your everyday life and start sharing them with anyone who will listen. The more you tell, the better you’ll get.

Listen to Good Communicators! There are a plethora of opportunities to listen to great communicators. Don’t just listen to be entertained but go behind their communication and listen for how they approached their subject. TED and iTunes is a good place to start. Check out Corey Turner Ministries (shameless plug 🙂

Develop Conversational Intelligence! Read Conversational Intelligence by Judith Glaser and put the principles into action.

Read and Listen! The more you read the more you’ll deposit into your mind a dictionary of words that you can pull out as you need them. Listening improves speaking. Ask good questions and then listen for the response. Log the response away in your heart and act on it at your next opportunity.

Structure your Outline! Don’t outline your notes into paragraphs but develop structure. Write your point and then explain your point, illustrate your point and apply your point. Transition to the next point and repeat the process.

Pray, Pray and Pray Some More! Our words are fruitless without the Holy Spirit. Ask for fresh fire and flow with the leading of the Spirit as you speak.

Communication Carries Anointing!

IMG_1240Your communication carries your anointing. Every believer is anointed but not every believer can carry their anointing through their communication. (God)

This is a really important insight. John Maxwell would articulate the insight above with the words, ‘Everyone communicates, few connect’. I’ve observed many anointed people over my lifetime but what separates those who hit the bullseye of people’s hearts and those who don’t is their ability to communicate what that anointing is. Your communication carries your anointing into people’s hearts. You maybe greatly anointed but if you are unable to articulate to others in an effective way, your anointing is inhibited. The anointing is the person and power of the Holy Spirit on you and in you for the purpose to which he has called and gifted you. The anointing is linked to your calling, gifting and purpose. Develop your capacity to communicate cause it will either help or hinder the potential of your anointing to minister to people’s lives effectively.

The Goal of Ministry!

Over a decade ago I began the journey of full-time ministry, failing to realise that as a follower of Christ, I was already in full-time ministry. Every single Christian is called to Ministry (Eph 4:11-16), every single Christian is gifted for ministry (1 Cor 12:7) and every single Christian can find enjoyment in their ministry (Ecc 2:24). However, unless you understand the goal and purpose of your ministry, you will never fulfill the point of it.

Colossians 1:24-29 is a key passage that points us to the goal of our ministry. Some of the key themes found within it are:

  1. God uses suffering as a means to advance the goal of ministry (v24)
  2. God’s called you to be a steward of the ministry he’s entrusted to you (v25)
  3. The mystery is fulfilled in Jesus Christ in us, the hope of glory (v26-27)
Paul brings us to verse 28 which is the crescendo of the text and outlines to us the GOAL of Ministry:
“Him, we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone, with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ.”
The GOAL of ministry is to present everyone mature in Christ. In between justification and glorification, there is this precious labor of love called sanctification. Some pastors and believers are only focused on the justification of the saints or even the glorification of the saints but Paul says, the goal of ministry is presenting everyone mature in Christ. This is discipleship 101.
The problem with some of our current approach to ministry is that we feel so overwhelmed by secularism, that we want to make Jesus look so cool, so badly and be liked by everyone that instead of aiming our ministry at presenting everyone mature in Christ, we get distracted by party tricks to get people in the door and once we get them in the door, we have no idea what we’re going to do with them.
If the goal of ministry is attracting a crowd only and getting a temporary bunch of decisions, then party tricks will work in the short-term but Jesus didn’t say GO and make converts, he said, GO and make disciples… this is the process of maturation in Christ and where there is no maturing in Christ, something is wrong in our approach to ministry.
Paul outlines to us how we are to go about the GOAL of presenting everyone mature in Christ: There are 3 key actions emphasized in this passage:
  1. Our ministry must be Christ-centered – It’s Jesus we proclaim because Jesus is the hero of the story from Genesis to Revelation.
  2. Our ministry must warn people of the consequences of sin – Romans 6:23 reminds us that the wages of sin is death but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus. If our ministry removes the doctrine of sin then what need has anyone to be saved.
  3. Our ministry must teach people to grow in Christ – We must be an example in our teaching and lifestyle of the re-prioritizing of kingdom values instead of worldly values.
I encourage you to not serve up a diet of candy, pizza, coke and cheeseburgers to attract a listening. This won’t truly serve them but instead nourish people’s souls with what will produce the full measure and stature of Christ in their lives.
Grace!