BOOK REVIEW: “Communicating for a Change”

If you are an emerging preacher, do yourself a favour and read Andy Stanley and Lane Jones’ great book, ‘Communicating for a Change’. It has the capacity to focus your preaching, calm your anxieties and improve your fruitfulness.

Style. The book has two parts that contain mostly the same information but delivered in very different modes – a bit like a novel and textbook. For those who enjoy absorbing wisdom indirectly, the first 90 pages or so are a gift to you. If you want the ‘facts’ supported by a good case, you’ll find that in part two.

Content. The goal of preaching is ‘change’. And so everything you do in preparation, delivery and review of your sermons should be focused on Godly change – first in your life and then in the lives of the people for whom you preach. This key assertion permeates every idea in the book.

“Pick a point’, say the authors. Just one, and then stick with it ruthlessly. The strategies for achieving this and Stanley’s personal examples are gold. This simple challenge, more than anything else I have learned about communicating, has benefited my preaching over the years. These authors argue and illustrate the principle powerfully.

You will also find some great wisdom on how to organise your sermon material. The book offers a way of ‘mapping’ content to maximise listener impact. There are five simple components of Stanley/Jones’ map: Me, We, God, You We. You will enjoy experimenting with this pattern.

Every preacher has their own voice, but the challenge is to find it. And that is not as easy as it sounds. All artists – painters, musicians, communicators – tend to start off echoing what they have picked up from others. It takes time and effort to peel back those inherited layers so your own best self can emerge. Stanley and Jones have some helpful insight for doing just that.

Collaboration. ‘Communicating for a Change’ is a worthwhile read! Seasoned preachers will find much to celebrate here as well. Buy two copies and ask a fellow preacher to read it with you so you can sit down together and discuss the ‘Takeaway’ at the end of each chapter in part two.

Enjoy!

Posted by Allan Demond

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