Sermon Killers

24D:33 – 5 Sermon Killers and How to Survive Them

5 Sermon Killers and How to Survive Them with Pastor Jerry Lawson

Call Notes from 5 Sermon Killers and How to Survive Them

  1. Preaching to Yourself
  2. Creating a Distance between the Pulpit and the Pew
  3. Failing to Bait the Hook
  4. Creating a Message with No Handles
  5. Being Predictable or Boring

Questions from Attendees:

  • How do you know if your message is effective?  How do you measure the success of your message?
  • Do you have a matrix you go through when developing a sermon?  Do you involve any other people when you create sermons?  How often do you meet?
  • How did you go about the selection process for your Team?

Coming your way soon!

  • 5 Generosity Challenges Every Church Faces and What to Do About It
  • 5 Types of Givers You Have and Need in Your Church
  • 5 Immediate Steps You Can Take Today to Increase the Giving In Your Church

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Transcript +

Hey pastors!

This is Richard Chancy with 24todouble. And I've got Pastor Jerry Lawson on the call with me today. So if you haven't been with us before on one of our calls here's the way this works. Jerry is going to teach for a little bit and then we're going to take some questions as many questions as we can on the time allows for to get into the queue which the queue is live now. All you have to do is get star six on your phone when it's your turn to talk. You'll be prompted and you can dive in and ask your question all we ask is that you at least give us your first name. We like it when you give us the first name and the church name. But if you've got a sensitive question feel free to use somebody else's name and don't worry about giving us your church name. Before we get started I wanted to tell you about something that's coming your way in the next week or so we're going to start sending out a three part video series that Jerry and I have been working on that's all around how to create systems for generosity in your church. Jerry has spent a lot of time developing the content for this. The reason we did that pastors is because as we sat down as a team and really kind of looked at what are the big challenges facing ministry in the future we saw that this was one of the biggest one we know that there's a ton of you that have a great big old God inspired vision for your church but you don't actually have the money to fund it. So I asked Jerry to put together some content for that and we're going to wallop you on the head with a two by four with that content in the next week or so. So make sure that you're checking your e-mails for those we've got three segments that are about 15 or 20 minutes each where we're really going to challenge you to look at the way that you are inspiring generosity in in your church. I'm so excited about this because I think what you're going to learn is how to get people in your church excited about what happens in them when they decide to be generous. In fact I walked away from some of this teaching that Jerry is doing thinking man being generous really is the most selfish thing a person can do. It's that it's probably the number one thing you can do for yourself after you meet Jesus is to be generous. It's going to be more fruitful than anything else. So Jerry you've got the thing you want to say about that before you dive in and start doing a little preaching here.

[00:02:22] I know obviously it's going to add And Richard what what those topics are going to be you guys. You guys will get this in your inbox if you just pay attention to e-mail or go to the 24toDouble Facebook. Just just pay close attention to that. But we're going to be teaching the 5 generosity challenges every church faces and what to do about that. I will be one of the teaching. The next one will be the five types of givers that you have and you meet in your church. And the third will be the five immediate steps that you can take today to increase your giving at your church. And so this is going to really help you. It's going to be based on my 20 years of pastoral ministry experience and things that literally have I have done and have worked in my church. So I hope you'll get that set aside time for those three teachings and and learn and grow from that.

[00:03:15] Hey Gerri before you before you dive to the next part one thing I failed to mention Pastor John most of you probably know this but maybe you don't but the tax law change that went into effect last year that came with the tax law changes at the end of 2017. It's I don't want to go into the details of the tax fall but here's what changed. They changed the standard deduction for four really ordinary Americans from twelve and a half thousand per couple to twenty four thousand. Here's all you need to know about that pastor if you don't already know this. What that means is the person that gave five or six thousand dollars to your church last year didn't get any more benefit from giving that money to your church than the person that gave nothing. Most people don't. They don't get above the standard deduction. They don't have enough itemized deductions to take them above that. So the two big things that fit in that category are your charitable giving and your mortgage just the expense on your house. And most people don't exceed twenty four thousand. So whether they get five or six thousand dollars or eight thousand dollars for your church they still got the same deduction. It's not like they got less from one but the people that didn't give anything got the same kind of deduction those people did. And things like that changes in the tax law changes in the way that our tax exempt status is viewed. I think those are things that we really need to start thinking about now. So that if it changes in the future we're not caught off guard and all of a sudden we've got to start operating on 70 percent of what we were operating yesterday. So I just wanted to put that out there and then I'll let Jerry jump in.

[00:04:41] Well I'll add this I'll add this to that Richard that last year within the last 18 months there was a ruling that that measure almost came down in the Supreme Court. That would have killed the pastors housing allotment. It was kicked out on a technicality but it is back before the Supreme Court and his most legal minds believe that we're very close to seeing the housing allotment go away what that's going to mean for you pastors that are full time pastors. You know it's going to increase your taxes greatly. Hopefully your church will respond and give more but it's going to put a strain on the churches. So there's just more and more reason why we've got to do the best job we can to focus on generosity if you have a larger church like mine where we're facing having a lot of added expense because due to the Affordable Care Act regulations to help start providing insurance to our employees and that's the way that law is written. Clearly I don't want to get political but it clearly was not written by anyone who's ever run a business because it just handcuffs you in every conceivable way. And so larger churches or even churches that have a pre-school it kind of increases the number employees you're going to be facing. There's a lot of stuff in our government. I'll just stop by saying there's a lot of stuff that our government is doing right now that is encroaching and is going to continue to encroach on our ability to just be in the black. So all the more reason why we've got to do a better job motivating and nurturing generosity and that's something we want to help you with. We've set aside you know a couple hours of training in these three videos. So I was at least a mile and a half in these in these three videos I want you to make sure you watch your inbox and you log onto that. So that's all for that Richard. And if you're ready we'll kick off today's station.

[00:06:43] Let's do it. And again if you want to get in the queue star six is how you do that and we'll get to as many out as you can before we finish the call today.

[00:06:52] All right. So we're going to have some questions at the very end if you get into the queue to ask your question right now. You don't even have to ask the question for at least 20 minutes because I'm going to I want to talk for a little while but I would encourage you to grab your pen and paper let me talk to you about the five sermon killers that many pastors succumb to things that are sermon killer practices habits that will become sermon killers. These are five sermon killers on how to survive them. All right. I rarely do this on the call but I'm gonna start with a little story. A lady asked the pastor in her congregation she asked the senior pastor if he had any extra copies of his sermon outlines or any additional sermon outlines that he had. She said they're always just what I need. The pastor was so excited he replied Wow that's great to hear but could I ask you what particularly is the most useful to you. And she said well the pages are just the right size for the bottom of my birdcage. So pastors I hope I hope your sermons are much more helpful than to line the bottom of a bird cage oh mine are too. We're going to talk about how to make sure that they are and make sure you're not doing these fine five common mistakes that are sermon killers. Let's let's be serious about this though the fact that church attendance the trend in church attendance in the US is nothing short of frightening right now. And the problem is certainly not material. You guys know the Bible. You pastors ladies and gentlemen you know the Bible you're crafting messages that are from The Greatest Story Ever Told. But there's there's a change in our culture in our world. You know Charles Spurgeon Pastor Metropolitan Church in London in the 19th century. It was the first ever megachurch as far as we know averaging over 20000 in attendance every week. Today that same church averages about 70 in attendance and the worship looks just like it has his famous pastor in its history so they model everything like it always was the worship service looks the same it sounds the same. I would imagine it smells the same that it did back in the 19th century. But Charles Virgin's sermons and his techniques they don't work today. Now listen his theology of course will work today but I'm convinced that if Spurgeon were alive today he'd be communicating differently. His messages would be the same but his method of sharing that message his methodology would have to change because great leaders are change leaders no greater proof of this than Jesus Christ himself. He was a great agent of change. Think about how he preached versus the Jewish teachers and rabbis that were his contemporaries. You know he preached to the wrong crowds because he just preached to anyone he preached in the wrong places because he didn't just always preach in the synagogue he preached the wrong message of course because it wasn't what they wanted to hear. He wore the wrong clothes and he even had the wrong posture. He'd sit down and stand on on the side of a boat or or hold a kid on his lap. He did nothing the way it was quote supposed to be done in his religious culture. Now the religious people were always mad at him while those in need always flock to him. And here's the flag. Religious people are still mad at Creative communicators and the needy still flock there and say what we want to do pastors we want to be like Jesus. Jesus said listen I didn't come here for the religion and come here for the people who have it all together. I came for those that are in need. And so we want to be like that. We want to continue to reach them. So today I want to share with you five sermon killers and how to avoid them this is going to go kind of quick to leave room for some questions and answers. But take out your pen you might want to write these five things now the number one sermon killer. Number one preaching to yourself. Preaching to yourself. Most preachers communicate on a level that speaks to them. Okay. Pastors we hear from God. We've been praying about our lives. We've been examining scripture and scripture speaks to us on our level. That's what God always does. And here's our mistake. We take what God said to us on because God spoke on our level. I mean we just share exactly what he spoke to us. And then things will. You might be here. Well of course. Why wouldn't I do it. Well because because God took the time to craft it and speak to you on your level. Now you've got to take what he spoke to you through His Word through your meditations or your study and crafted to speak on their level. And so I'm talking about sermons that you had that speak to you. You've got to realize that the people in your congregation are nothing like you. I mean you and I like my friend Richard Tanzi always that's we're professional Christians. OK. We we are Christians for a living. But the people you're preaching to man they're they're lawyers and they're forklift drivers and they're truckers you know and their school teachers and their week has been nothing like your week. Their lifestyle their their their schedule is nothing like your schedule. And so. So you've got to define your target audience and speak to them. Now that's a whole nother webinar or teaching we could do on what is a target audience and how do you find it but short of me going into that right now. You know I learned about a target audience about the year we started. They start church when I was reading the book by Rick Warren called Purpose Driven Church. And Rick Warren talked about Saddleback Sam this this prototypical idea of a person that they're trying to reach in their community. I immediately sat now with my my staff which by the way was all volunteer at the time just my leadership team we sat down. I gave them all the book. We read the book together. We wrote up what we thought is Daystar damn OK. And you know what. Even to this day know 19 years later even right now when I write a sermon I get ready to to think about things like illustrations and the way I'll present it and the stories I'll tell and all that I think about and they start that I think about what he's doing right now. I think about what his challenges are in his life. I think about what he's worried about. See what I'm thinking about in my life is nothing like the average person. Okay first of all I think everybody everybody in the American church has got to target young people just the staggering numbers of young people leaving the church and leaving faith in general denotes we have to focus on them while I'm 46 years old. The things I'm thinking about oral 1 k and you've given away my daughter and marriage and now I'm not too far down the line because I've got a daughter who's been married two years I'm not too far down the line of being a grandfather you know I'm not going to get up and preach about my grandchildren not gonna do that because that doesn't relate so so I'm not going to preach to myself. Well here's what you can do. Here's what I'd say if I'm going to go home and watch a TV show it's either going to be a sports show or some old sitcom like the King of Queens or Seinfeld but I'm not going to get up and share an illustration from that I'm going to talk to my teenage daughter not the one that's married. My other daughter my teenage daughter is not married to my younger daughter still lives in the house. I'm going to ask her how do I communicate this. I have often run things past my youth pastor because I don't want to preach to myself. If you preach to yourself you'll get people just like you. There's a reason why you can define the congregation that most churches by drawing a circle around the senior pastor they're going to be his color his age and his socioeconomic status. Well that's not what we want to do to limit ourselves to that. So I'm going to have to work extra hard to make sure I don't preach just to myself. That's the first sermon kiddo. Don't preach to yourself. Secondly creating a distance between the pulpit and the pews. Now these first two go hand-in-hand. There's a thing called I call it the yeah but yeah but if I go off to a conference and Andy Stanley speaking in Atlanta about something they're doing in their church I'm going to immediately go yeah. But you know he's in metro Atlanta and things are different yeah. But he's got a million people living within an hour's drive of his church and it's just different Where. Yeah.

[00:15:06] But his dad is Charles Stanley and I didn't get a church that started like Andy Stanley did with a thousand members from my daddy's church. Yeah but yeah but. Yeah. And you guys do the same thing. In fact by the way that's why 2014 was so successful because there's just really no yeah but to this the way we started the way we came where we came from. Nobody can start any lower than we started with Daystar Church which is the model that we birthed 24toDouble does a lot. But let me tell you this about your congregation your congregation is infested with the. Yeah but you're going to get up Sunday you're going to try to tell your congregation how to live their life. What Scripture says they ought to do about generosity about their relationships about serving others about sharing their faith. And they're all going to be saying Yeah but you just don't know what my life is like. There you stand. You know and you're in this suit and tie and here I am in blue jeans and a T-shirt. You're just you don't understand my situation. There you stand. You're using language I don't even understand you're talking about things like really regeneration and salvation and you know exit Jesus and I don't even understand those words.

[00:16:10] There are many things that we do to create a distance between the pulpit and the pews and they are sermon killers. How we dress is one way I've gone to churches rural you know just common ordinary communities where the pastor is literally wearing as much money on his body in terms of a suit. And you know what. Maybe cufflinks and shoes he's wearing as much money as the average church member makes in a month. You think they're going to hear his heart about generosity. You think they're going to understand when he talked about sacrifice. No because there's too big of a distance. The language you know if you were to move to China if you told me God's called me to evangelize China and I'm going to spend my life there I'm going to uproot my family. You're going to be you're going to immediately go get language lessons. You're going to learn to speak Chinese. You know we need to learn to speak American language today because problem is most pastors speak Christian. We use language just words that people don't understand we use and listen by the way. I want my church to know what regeneration I want them to know what salvation is. I don't even know what sanctification is. And I will absolutely teach that but I won't just roll it off the tongue. I might teach one of those concepts maybe two on a given weekend and I'm going to use a lot of normal ordinary language to explain exactly what I mean. So when you when you have a big distance between the pulpit in the pews you enable what I call the Yeah. Bucks. Yeah I hear your sermon but it won't apply to my life. That's not what you want. It is a sermon killer. Number three. Sherman pillar is failing to bait the hook. So we're going fishing. We're fishers of men and women and we have to bait the hook. The third sermon killer is when we fail to make the hook. If I ask you pastors what's the most important three minutes of your sermon. Most of us would say well the last three minutes because that's where we asked for a commitment. That's where it all kind of comes together. I would argue that the most important three minutes is the first three minutes because if you don't catch them you don't capture their heart and their mom and their thought and their emotions. You don't if you don't bait the hook. Well in the first three minutes they won't be around for the last three minutes and I'm not just talking about getting up and walking out. I mean emotionally mentally they're they're not mentally present for the rest of the sermon they're on Facebook they're texting their friends they're whispering and talking to each other. They're just not there. They're sharing a hole in you because they're thinking about what they're going to eat for lunch right. You've got to bake the hook at the beginning of your message quickly and effectively. You know one guy that does it gets the same way every time which I don't think is a good idea ordinarily but if you listen to Joel Osteen he baits the hook every Sunday the same way he tells a corny little joke. You preachers IF YOU HEAR HIM YOU'RE LIKE YOU'VE TOLD THAT SAME JOKE. Joel Osteen is telling you told it five times and he's got 30000 people who sound like they've never heard it in their life. They're knee slapping and laughing and carrying on you know but he's beating a dead he's capturing their attention. So you can tell jokes. You can have movie clips that pertain to what you're what you're going to talk about an in Sermon interview where you talk to someone a drama skit. I think probably the most effective and easiest is a thought provoking question if we so want to present solutions and we want to get answers that we failed to take the hearer on a journey especially emerging generations like Millennials and Gen Zee. They don't want to be lectured. They want to be given a sermon the word sermons a bad word. By the way I use it in this talk to you guys because you're pastors and you use that but we don't we we use messages we use the word message because a sermon just sounds like I'm going to get a lecture and people don't want to hear that anymore. So what we want to do we want to carry people on a journey. I'm just I'm just not the time out with somebody right now giving me. Yeah but I just sense it in my spirit. When you pass you you're saying yeah but you know what we've got to hold on to the old rugged cross and we got to preach the gospel. I want to do all that too. I just want to do it more effectively. I'm going to get them to the point of commitment just like you want to get them to the point of commitment but I'm going to do it in the most effective creative way. Following the example of Jesus. And so instead of stepping up and the first five minutes of the message reading a bible verse And go right into you better do this and you better not do that. I'm going to start by creating a common problem that they have and build common ground on it. And then I'm going to tell them that scripture will solve the problem. Now let's walk through the scripture together and let's find this. This pearl of great price in the scripture. You could start out by saying how many have ever had a Sunday where you were so close to God you felt like you floated out of the house you're going to go to work or school the next day you're going to share your faith you're going to be a generous person you're going to love on your neighbor you're going to be the best employee but back by nine o'clock Monday morning you've already woke up late you had an argument at home you've been tailgating somebody held up you're held up your commute by going slow in the left hand lane your boss lied to you and somebody took your parking spot at the before 9 a.m. You're already so mad you have forgotten everything gotten you. Now you guys you understand that I probably just build common ground with you pastors how much more will it build common ground with your congregation start with a problem identify a problem that your script you one verse God spoke to you the thing that's on your heart that scripture is going to solve their problem and so we we we carry them on a journey rather than we stand over them and lecture them we're going to bait the hook with a problem and then we're gonna get to biblical principles and we're going to get to everything you want to share with them all right. Number four. We're going to tell a strawman by creating a message with no handles. Not a lot of really smart pastors do this. You're very smart. You're full of Scriptural knowledge you. You're a theologian. But you create a message with no handles. Nobody can take it home. You know I see a logically accurate sermon is like a work of art. Know like the like a Mona Lisa. Right. But you know I went to Paris and I was in the loop and I physically was in the room with the Mona Lisa. And you and I found out there is a velvet cord to stop me from getting within 30 feet of the Mona Lisa. I literally pulled it up on my phone and zoomed in on it from Google and got a better view on my iPhone than I did physically in the room. Why. Because it's such a beautiful perfect work of art. They don't want anybody near it nobody to mess it up and you know it occurs to me that the sermons like this. They're perfectly accurate but they're not close enough to where a person lives. It's like when I walk out of the loop found a street there was there was more than a dozen street artists just sitting there pencil drawing and painting all kinds of pictures they're in and in Paris my wife and I we we love the iPhone tower we found the guy sitting out looking at the iPod tower drawing it. We bought that piece of artwork. We took it home. We put it in the frame. It's it's on the wall in our house right now. What is it as beautiful as the Mona Lisa. Absolutely not. Is this guy famous. Well he's no Leonardo da Vinci but I've got a piece of art that I can take home I can hang on my wall I can share it with my friends. I can remember it in past years. I would encourage you to put a handle on that sermon so people can take it home. They can share it with their family where it makes sense to them what's the handle. I may answer that question. What is the handle. Well it's like a Velcro point it make it sticky makes it stick to their life so you are a good way to get a handle on it is that consider you're asking a question pastor. Just consider you just finished writing your sermon for the weekend. You read it all the way through and then I ask you. That's a great sermon Pastor. How does this concept fit into everyday life. You just finish point number two and I go yes. But how. Or I might ask you what does that look like when it's implemented. Or what are some concrete steps that I can take two days towards the end of the sermon. I might say I believe you Pastor you're passionate about that I know you heard from God. But how do I get there from here. The Bible says Jesus never taught without an illustration without a story. So we ought to be doing the same kind of thing. That answers questions and connects people testimonials video illustrations. You know when I get up to preach I've never preached a sermon where everybody stared at me the whole time. They're always on their phone they're looking they're talking to each other no matter how engaging you are. Somebody is not paying attention but every time I roll a video I look out at the house and every eyes on that video screen. So there are other ways to capture the people's attention. Most important question you need to ask and I ask myself literally every Thursday is my sermon writing day. And I always finish it up by about noon and I stop. I read the whole thing through. I write this question I ask myself this question so what. So Jerry you have asked thousands of people to get up get dressed not sleep in. Not podcast. Some other sermons that they could watch online or on TV to literally come to the building to spend time to get among the crowds and they've listened to you talk for 35 minutes now. So what what about going to do what is the next step if you can't clearly answer the so what. Pastor you have changed the sermon a whole lot really. I mean he's got the theology in it. You just have to pull out a few things that tell them how to pick this idea up and take it home with. So these are the four I've said that will kill the sermon before I give you the last one. Preaching to yourself creating a distance between the pulpit and the pews. Failing number three failing to bait the hook. And number four creating a message with no handle. Here's the last one. Number five sermon killer is being predictable or boring. Okay. It's the same thing if you're predictable. Now I grew up on Bonanza. I mean did you guys out there watched Bonanza. All right here's what a Bonanza episode is like. You know there's something going on in the middle of the town and a big bully punches Little Joe in the mouth. Joe falls over the side into a well. The bully runs off and Joe's leg is broken. He's stuck in the well for the next hour of Bonanza. We're going to figure out how to get Joe out of the well and we're going to catch the guy who punched him in the mouth. That's the whole show. That's all a bonanza. One hour one story. Unfortunately a lot of sermons are just like that today one hour. One story we're preaching just like Bonanza there's a reason bonanza is not on TV you know because now it's Netflix. My daughter got Netflix on her phone. Thousands of options. Every one of them quit cutting fast paced storylines 5 7 stories going on in one 30 minute program. I mean it is it is changing by the minute and we're preaching bonanza. We're asking people to get out of the life that they live six days a week and go back in time 50 years to be able to to connect with what we're doing. So Pastor to be not predictable to be not boring. I want to challenge you to break up your sermon in five minute sermons little mini sermons. The average attention span of American is about five minutes so there's there's a story there's a video there's a drama there's something there's a there's something a joke something that you can break up the tension about every five minutes. In short I would say like this if you're doing the same thing right now that you were doing five minutes ago in the sermon then you know what somebody is counting the ceiling tile somebody is taking their friend somebody is logging on to Facebook. All right so this is what you have to do when I listen when I'm talking to you right now. I know I'm probably a different kind. You guys have volunteered to be here here. I'm talking to professional colleagues. If I were talking to your congregation I wouldn't be preaching I would be talking so fast. Just boom boom boom hitting you like with all this information like a machine gun. I thought how would talk to your congregation. I would work hard to be more engaging. You know I would I would change my intensity factor. You've got to be pinching builders and tension relaxers the mind the heart cannot endure the same thing for forty five minutes. The preachers that that do preach the way I'm doing right now just kind of rapid fire for 45 minutes. It's incredible. And I had a a church consultant tell one of my what. Actually he's a 24toDouble consultant consults churches force told one of my closest friends when he visited his church. The guy asking how was that sermon. He said Man that was a great sermon series. The point being you just hit us rapid fire with so much stuff. You gave us five weeks worth of content. But no no contextual ization nothing to tell me how to put it into my life. You know your heart can't endure the exact same stuff for 45 minutes I know breaches that just cry all the way through their sermon. This is whiny cry think 45 minutes of crying. I can't take it. I know preachers that scream for 45 minute they're obviously very excited but you can't put up. I know guys that read poems every week one or two poems and you know there's just. And then I know guys that you know they're going to just steal voice and just kind of whisper. Here's the truth guys. Every bit of that needs to be in your tool box. You need to have moments of weeping and crying. You need to have lasting moments you need to have raise your voice moments and hollering moments. And you need to still small voice because it draws people in. But if you're doing the same thing all the way through it's gonna get predictable and it's going to get boring. So be mindful of your intensity factor. Now guys I've just given you five straight from the hip. The thing that I love about 24todouble teaching Richard models that I model it. We don't put any fluff on it. We don't try to be politically correct. I'm perfectly fine with the reality that I may have offended someone just now about how you preach. That's fine if you want to push back. Press star six get in the queue. We'll take questions or comments either one that you might have. Richard anything you want to add before we go to the question and answer portion.

[00:31:22] Yeah. Well as usual we've had a bit of a snafu with the queue. And if you were in the queue and you got bounced about what do you say. If you were in the queue you were no longer in the queue. So Star six on your phone if you've got a question and we'll get those. A jury. We've done this before but we've done it with our members where we talked about the idea of getting really specific on the day Star darn thing. Some people start thinking yeah yeah but I don't wanna exclude people in my church. And we kind of develop this idea that there's a difference between who you're going to try to reach and who you're willing to serve the people you're willing to serve as a much bigger crowd whereas the reach is I'm going to specifically be preaching to this group of people.

[00:32:03] I would really Yeah I would really encourage people to hear it from where I learned it from Rick Warren's book The Purpose Driven Church. But you know what what I've come to realize is. We we do want to reach everybody. We absolutely want to reach everybody. But going after people you know is kind of like going hunting you know bird hunting if you're if you're quail hunting and a whole covey of quail jumps up the amateur Hunter says I've got a shotgun. There's so many of them I just need to point and fire and you know I can't miss.

[00:32:37] But the truth is you'll miss him every time you have to pick one out and aim at that one. Sorry for all of the PETA activists that might be on the call right now to search your favorite. But that's how you hunt Jesus they were fishers of men. You're not gonna go catch a bass on the same thing you'd catch a red snapper on you've got to pick a death you got pick him pick a bait. There's a certain way to catch a Carson that catches a different fish than a hook to so in the same way. We have this with aim for something. Yes we want everybody. We absolutely want everybody to get all kinds. You got to get all types but you're going to focus on being most effective on the area. You feel like God's called you too. So I hope that clarifies it a little bit.

[00:33:21] For sure and let me check and see if anybody is back in the queue yet. Interesting thing about these passes if you're not in 24toDouble we do these calls once a month with our 24 to double crew and we can't get all the questions answered in an hour hour and a half and it seems to be Jerry that people are a bit more tentative and get on the call today. So let me throw something specific out there for you that are listening. I mean we'll we'll take questions on church growth. We'll take you to the biggest challenge that you're dealing with. We'll take. Hey here's how do I know. I mean how do you know this is a good question to you Gerri. How do you how do you know if you're if your message is effective. I mean like how do you measure the success of the message.

[00:34:05] Well you can't rely on the feedback you get at the backdoor in all the years that I've been preaching only one time in my life that I get negative feedback at the backdoor one time I preach one tough subject of divorce and the lady in the church told me that message made me feel condemned.

[00:34:28] But other than that every single time I've ever preached there's always good feedback and so you really can't trust that you know the way to know if you if you've really connected is going to be are you getting some results. So are you seeing the target audience engaging are you getting people again. If you're if you're giving them to dos like you know a they saw we do four things that we focus on above everything else we can worship. We want you there every week growth track. We want you to go to Pastor breakfast find out what your spiritual gifts are and fully engage. Dream team we want you to serve on the volunteer corps and small groups we want you in small group. So I'm preaching about that stuff a lot. That's all very biblical. Every bit of that is very biblical. So I'm preaching about that often. So one of the ways I know if I'm effective of course church attendance. That's that's an important part. But I know some really good preachers that the Church just doesn't grow. There's more to it. The things that I'm trying to get people to do. I'm not seeing it happen in terms of small groups and growth track and and our volunteer corps you know serve projects are they inviting their friends. That to me those kind of metrics by the way that's a whole nother training we could give on. Are you. Are you gauging metrics we look at the metrics of what how does how does your congregate. How do you know as a pastor how do you know you hit a home run. I mean how do you know you guys made a touchdown. What metrics are you keeping. You know if I talk on generosity I'll check the metrics honestly giving one up.

[00:36:01] So for me it's a lot less than I get a much of a men's and then I'll get a bunch of ATL boys at the back door. It's more of what the metrics look like. Did I not see the needle move on the things that I'm asking people actually go up to.

[00:36:14] Yeah that's awesome. I think we have. I think we actually have one of our 24todouble members in the queue now. Is Mike Tracy. Jessica you can go ahead and cue mike up.

[00:36:29] Hey Pastor during that and I just greatly appreciate that. I constantly want to review my teaching and my methodology. I'm from storytelling to direct preaching to going verse by verse to going I guess topical preaching. My question to you is do you do you have a matrix that you go through or do you have your sermon development team maybe your shock and all team that that does that with you. And then how often do you meet.

[00:37:07] Great great question. So I actually did another webinar one time. You may have been on it where we talked about how to build a sermon calendar but let me give you sort of just the high points of how a sermon gets to the. If I go backwards from how a sermon actually gets to the congregation first of all I'm going to set aside time I'm setting aside two days every quarter for sermon creative time. It's called a creative break. I don't. These are big work based. So for me Monday and Tuesday I like it. Brown running a lot of pastors take off my back but I hit the ground running Monday and Tuesday are to my biggest work days. So I'll take Monday and Tuesday off once a quarter for nothing but creative thought. So I'm praying I'm reading you I'm just just just maybe maybe maybe in my daily devotions I got a little nugget of an idea I just kind of put it on paper and then all those two days I get just big ideas you know just just do just ideas is all that if I take those ideas into my creative team we meet quarterly and I'd just say hey guys you know I really we have we have about five topics we know we want to address every year topics like generosity relationships sexuality things things like that. What we want to do at least one book study the book of Philippians Galatians you know we did proverbs in the summer. So we've got some things that we know we're going to do every year just because they're necessary and needed. And then there's some things that are just going to be on my heart. And so we throw all that up on the wall and I just tell them hey here's where I want to go. For instance I said I want to. I want to preach on proverbs and I just want to talk about how in your face the proverbs are goes right to the point. Tell me how we deliver that and they said hey. And through the discussion they said let's call it truth bombs you know just like somebody dropped the Truth Bomb on Me Somebody walked up said something into the mike dropped the mike kaboom. So all the way through the sermon series we call it truth bombs on the back wall behind me is this graphic with bombs on it. And every time I encourage the congregation instead of saying a man when I say something that's the truth bomb I want you to go. So all through six weeks there were no a man's in the house. There were just over and over again is really fun and people enjoyed it kind of really it kind of framed the series really good. I would have never come to that without you know my young team which by the way I want to always say this I started with no staff. I was barely on staff when we started but judging by what they were buying me and I did this with volunteers of course now we have paid people and some unpaid interns that help us do this. But you know I encourage people to get get your team around you whoever they are creative types and let them help you contextualize that sermon into the market you're trying to reach.

[00:40:09] Good. Thank you. Yeah.

[00:40:11] Good question. Yeah great great question. And I think we've got another. I think we've got another call in the queue and then we've got a couple of e-mail questions too that we'll get to if we've got a chance but we're trying to give priority to people that are getting in the queue. Jessica you want to go ahead and tee them up.

[00:40:32] Greetings pastors and thank you for allowing us this opportunity. My name is Francisco. My church is true vine. And my question is what would you how would you rather be with Vice to someone like myself who is what we call bi vocational that desires to go full time ministry. But my question is how. What steps do I need to take to hit my church make that transition into understanding the importance of becoming full time pastoring versus being by vocation.

[00:41:09] OK. Well hey kudos to you for doing that Francisco. I at the beginning of my ministry I was also bi vocational. I understand that crazy challenge that is I was working 50 hour week job it was manual labor. I was just so exhausted thank God I was young younger. But the thing I would say I think the answer to most of our problems is vision just absolute. Another great book a vision hearing by Andy Stanley. But eh eh eh huge clear and compelling inspirational vision with absolutely no limitations on it it's really hard to do because immediately when you start thinking about what you want to do your brain says well we can't because of that you get a case of the yeah but. Yeah. But we don't have the bug. Yeah but I'm not full time. Yeah but we don't have the facilities but I think you have to put all the limitations aside and just just dream just just wander. Let me just just let your brain wander out there at the possibilities and cast a huge vision and you want to get with your team and you want to bring. Help them come to the conclusion instead of you telling them you want to help them come to the conclusion man Pastor we've got to get you full time. I mean you've got my heart. I want to see this church grow I want to see this church reach my children and my grandchildren I want to see a new facility I want to see us fill the seats I want to see all of this we've got to have youth full time so I I really believe pastor a clear and compelling vision that you absolutely can not fulfill are our students where emotion conference in Birmingham just this past summer and one of the big takeaways one of one of the speakers said if you have a vision that is hard to accomplish then it didn't come from God but if you have a vision that is impossible to accomplish by natural means then it came from God. And I would just encourage you to throw one out there because it's not your church. It's God's church and it is our church. They own some responsibility for that church too. They own some of the pressure. I know his pastor. We want to carry all that pressure but Francisco you have to let them carry some of that pressure you put out a vision that has no limitations on it whatsoever and help them see that they're going to need you full time to be able to reach that goal.

[00:43:42] Thank you so much I really appreciate that.

[00:43:44] Yeah. I'll be waiting or you just go faster. I wrote your name down here and I'm will be praying for for your church true vine and for you Pastor. I appreciate you bi vocational in the same in the same heart as the Apostle Paul. You know just this guy was loose I was on the road a lot today and I was listening. The first trains are Second Corinthians how Paul was talking about how hard he worked and how much he labored in how he wouldn't be a burden on anyone and you're doing the same thing. So I'm going to be praying God honors that and blesses you and advances your ministry.

[00:44:15] Thank you so much. May I have one more minute ask one more question. Yes sir. How did you go about the selection process for your team. For you. Those that's on your close knit team. What was the process you use for selecting those people on that.

[00:44:33] Yes so early on the number one component was an active pulse. Say they had a lot in it. Oh alive. OK. They had to have a pulse. Now here's what we've always said. We've always said that you've got you've got your core and you've got your craft. OK your core is who you are your character your ethics you know your standards that never changes.

[00:45:01] There's no sliding scale on your core. If you're going to be in leadership you've got to be an example among believers that's what Paul told Timothy. Your core has got to be a ten out of ten. We've got to have you. Not not not being a an embarrassment to the church to the pastor to the kingdom of God. Your craft. That's more of what you do your ability your talent. So that's a sliding scale. And early on. Honestly if you if you had the heart after God and you were chasing after him I didn't care how gifted and talented you were at all now obviously as the church has grown larger the expectation of your talent level has gone higher. But I still you know I will still take people you know. Case in point you know our our first youth pastor was a recovered drug addict and he had solid character but his speaking ability not good his organizational ability nonexistent. So I had to hover over him. But he's what we had our first children pastor was my wife. OK. And you know she did a great job. That was her passion or her heart but she just did it because we needed that. Our first drummer I was the first worship pastor I led worship ran the sound. Believe it or not I played keyboard and and coach system. This is my first drummer was terrible. He was awful. I had to coach him up so you know I just went with. If you're in 24toDouble but when you hear me often talk about the coalition of the willing. You know I just I just went with who was willing and if they're making progress I was willing to work with them still and.

[00:46:45] Great. Great questions. Francisco thanks for being with us today. Thank you. Hey let me draw him in a throw. I'm going to combine. We had like three or four questions come through the e-mail inbox and I'm gonna combine a couple of them. This from from Pennsylvania basically is asking a question and also making a comment about spending time with your target audience like one on one time with those people and then dinner from Michigan asks the question Is there a specific formula for baiting the hook. And I think those two question statements kind of go together how do you know. Your next question is there a specific formula for being the hook that works every time. And I think the seeds of the answer to that is in both of those questions there.

[00:47:32] Yes so I love to spend time with my target audience because I'm old enough to be their dad. It's not going to be super cool hip so I might play basketball with them. But a lot of times I'm going to take them to lunch. I'm going to bother dinner or whatever I might take them I'm taking on the top golf and spend some time with them or are just whatever we watch football game at my house and I'll I'll pay for all the pizza and wings and all that kind of stuff. But but another thing that really really like is having ownership you know and this has been amazing People think that young people are only going to be engaged at Elevation Church.

[00:48:12] You know Stephen Burdick or or a church like based Star we have a lot of young leaders. But the truth of the matter is I've seen young leaders engaged at some churches that just don't seem to fit them at all but they've been given some ownership. And so when I can I love to give ownership of my sermon to some of my target audience. So when I'm sitting down with a man watching a ballgame it's half time I'll say hey guys I really want to preach about this topic. You know I want to appreciate in the Book of James and I want to talk about what pure religion under file looks like. Let's talk about that and I'll just start talking and I will make it a point even if this theology is horrible and even if their ideas just don't really land I'm going to pick something out of what they said and it's going to happen in that sermon.

[00:49:04] I'm going to make sure it happens I'm right and right now my mind is slipping. But literally there's there's a little oh a little lie. I heard one of them say the other day they said I'm not here for a long time I'm here for a good time. You're talking about dying. Only the Good Die Young. I'm talking about an illustration of eating good food somebody saying that that was just tofu that taste like bacon and I'm going to be feminists say hey guys I don't believe that anything taste like bacon is bacon. And you know what if I eat too much of it's because I'm not here for a long time and I'm only here for a good time. I'm going to work that in because one of my teenagers told me that made me laugh and I want to make sure she hears me say that in the sermon. So she has ownership of it. And you know of course that goes to a whole new level when you put him in the tech team or put him on the worship team or in the greeting team. But that's one thing that I'll do is I'll make time to spend with them if I get an opportunity to speak to the student ministry man. I'm going to blow the roof off of that service. I'm going to come in there in blue jeans and my white tennis shoes and I'm going to look as much like them as I can. I'm not going to get you know some some pastors just embarrass themselves by trying to be younger than they are. I don't mean that I don't mean that I'm going to build a bridge I'm going to be fine I'm going to be loose and I'll have fun with them and I'm going to let them know that they matter to me more than their parents did. I'm going to flat out tell them that then I'll get on Sunday morning and tell the parents when I told the kids on Wednesday night. So you know I do a lot of things like that and just build the connection. We've started something called Daystar College where we literally put kids through Bible College we leave university with their onsite at my church and they're interning while they're getting Bible classes online. So we're raising up leaders that way by way if you need a need you need a employee for your church a staff member. We're raising up those staff members we'd love to help you find somebody if you've got a young leader you want to put them through Bible training and but haven't come back to your church. Since when did they start college. But that's something that we're doing to generate more awareness and just empowerment of that younger generation.

[00:51:15] Yes advanced. Yeah that was that was awesome and art Hank from Mississippi. I think this is a good question Jerry. And I'm going to twist Hank's words a little bit I'll ask his question and I'll throw it spitter on it. He ask Should I consider an entire sermon series should I consider changing an entire sermon series if I preach the first one and it doesn't connect. And then if you can just talk answer that question. I think that's a pretty good question. I think that's probably the most people on the call and then the second part is just speak into the idea of preaching sermon series at all. I listened to a lot of sermons a lot of different pastors and there's still a ton of pastors that are not doing theories. They're doing one off messages so to speak into those things.

[00:52:00] Yeah I'm a big fan of sermon series just simply because it helps on a number of ways. Number one you're people aren't coming to church every week anymore so they're coming about every other week on average maybe maybe three times a month but probably more like 1 to 2. So you can kind of wait too you can kind of catch him up on what week one was and you know you move more on the week. GREENE So I feel like your congregation is on a curriculum a God given curriculum to use the pastor and you're marching implored him so a series helps people not to get lost in the process.

[00:52:36] God is bringing you through so I really like that. The series also makes it easier on me. I don't have to go through that gut wrenching. Oh God what are you saying to me what do you want me to do. You know I have that one sort of download from heaven and figure out how long it's going to take me to teach it and I'll just run through that and Hank's question about if you if you start with a series that week one you've got up and said You're going to go six weeks or four weeks and week one was terrible. You absolutely change it. In fact I'm going to change it obliquely Sunday morning services. If it if it blows at eight thirty I'm going to change it before nine forty five service. I know I'm going to change it in the middle of the eighth servers if I can. I don't want to miss any C I try to remind myself every Sunday. I literally tell myself this. Jerry there's somebody here you've preached in this car in this community to these multi campuses for 19 years but there's somebody who is here today who has never heard you preach you can not rest on anything you've done in the past and more importantly than that there's somebody here who has never heard the Gospel in a real and relevant way. So I don't want to waste any sermon not one sermon not one week I'll rewrite it in the middle of a sermon I'll go off script in the middle of a sermon and pastures I'll certainly rewrite it in week two and three four five and I will absolutely blame it on God I'll blame I'm not going to get up and say hey you know what. That sermon was so terrible last week I'm gone in a different direction this week. I'm I'm beautiful pray about that thing. I want to talk to God about it and then I'm gonna get up and blame it on God. You know I got to tell you I was going to be we do a blah blah blah but you know what I prayed about I think God wants us to go here. And so I'm absolutely. You know what. What people want and want fresh bread from heaven they don't they don't want an education in the Bible I just don't I wish they wanted that but they don't want an education of the Bible. But they still are. It's a very spiritual world today. You know Millennials and Gen Zee even though they're not into Christianity buying large they're very spiritual in nature. And so if you can be prophetic in nature you can be spiritual you can you can you give them something fresh. Tell them you've heard from heaven. Make sure that's not manipulation. Make sure you have heard from heaven. But they'll engage with that.

[00:55:02] That's good. Hey I and somebody else popped in and ask the question here Jerry and I wanted you to answer this one because I know the answer to this and I think it'll be helpful to the pastors. But this is Leslie from Buffalo New York. I don't know if Leslie is a man or a woman to be honest with you. And it says Hi Jerry this has been great content. Thank you. Can you speak into when a pastor like myself can tell when it's time to take a break. Does it ever make sense to say to kick off say a four week series only preach the first week and then let other staff preach the rest of the series. Or is that too risky.

[00:55:35] So I would say to Leslie if you're a senior pastor and you're asking the question then it's time for you to take a break. Just because I know pastors if you're thinking What should I take a break then you probably about six weeks beyond when you need to take a break and my heart goes out to guys like Francisco Bible occasional pastors because you're going to say Yeah but you know there's no way to make this happen. But let me tell you most pastors are preaching way too many. You shouldn't preach more than six weeks in a row without taking two Sundays off. Don't take a single Sunday off without taking two. If you don't take pay you didn't take. Just just hear my heart.

[00:56:13] I'm telling you I know and I know what you're thinking because I thought that the first time I heard that. All right. My first four years of Daystar Church I took one Sunday off in four years and that's because my grandfather died my hero my mentor and I preached this funeral. All right so I did it wrong it all wrong. I have all the same reasons that you have for not taking time off but even as we speak right now I'm in the second week of a two week off cycle. I try to go about six weeks and I let my team take my other pastors home staff take a couple weeks here. Here's what I encourage you to do if you're not able to do that. Get in a network like the 24 another network. Find some pastors that are serving with you get a partnership together. I think I think you know if you keep moving along in this generosity THINK TEAM WE'RE GONNA OFFER. After that we're going to offer you something else that offers a Facebook group that you can get together with and Richard will be telling you more about that as you just stay in these teachings that we give you. But you need to network with some people that you can trust and find some you know I have a thing called the Barnabas project where we actually help pastors take some time off and just just right now I've got a pastor that I've sent away to a little pray retreat in the Blue Ridge Mountains of north Georgia. We provide a pastor to preach for him all at no cost to him because this is such a great need to raise money to do it obviously. But actually 24toDouble funds a lot of that page of the times here where we're helping pastors out. And so it's a real passion point for me. I've got another pastor that's going the first week of October on a prayer retreat. I think you need that kind of stuff a lot. And to specifically answer Leslie's question about letting other staff members jump in or other guests preacher ship in that series. Absolutely. I've done that both from the vantage point of me starting the series and letting someone either finish it or take a week or two. And I'm also going to other churches and like when I'm on vacation I've got a couple of churches that I oversee and they'll ask me Hey do you have a sermon that maybe fits this series that you wouldn't mind preaching for us. And you know it's not as much pressure because I'm not writing a new sermon it's not my people I could just come in and love them and leave them. You know it's a lot easier and you know so I'll do some things like that from time to time as well.

[00:58:47] Good question. That's awesome. That's awesome. Hey let's Let's wrap up with this. Two things. Open your e-mails open your e-mails next week because we're going to be sending out some incredible content here and I've already got it worked up. And I'm just telling you pastor this moment that we're going to spend with you next week is going to be a game changer for you. The other thing we've mentioned 24 to double a couple of times over the last hour. If this is your first time with us you're on our e-mail list you're probably seeing some stuff about that but 24todouble is a two year whole church discipleship model that is trained by Jerry Lawson and it teaches you seven systems that if you install them in your church that we guarantee your church will grow if you want to find out more about that just simply visit 24 trial dot com that's 2 for trial dot com. That'll take you right to the main page of 24 to double. Otherwise we'll look forward to being with you at some point the future. Next week we're going to do those those three calls.

[00:59:44] We'll be back to back to back days and be videos that will be a Q and A. Make sure you jump into those the the content phenomenal and we think it'll be a huge impact on your church spirit. Thanks for being with us today.

[00:59:56] I enjoyed it immensely thanks to every pastor who held on and listened. Then you have something that a lot of people don't have. You have the willingness to grow and better yourself and God's going to honor that so thank you for your time with us. I look forward to being with you again next week.

[01:00:10] Thanks Pastor. Have a great day.

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