Audience Sensitivity

Preaching that Forges the Church’s Identity

My pastor and mentor in the ministry told me, “Always put some of the cookies on the bottom shelf.” I tell my own students, “One goal is for the kindergarten kid to be able to tell mommy and daddy at lunch exactly what your sermon was about.” Clarity i... Read More »

Communicating the “Cash Value” of Your Sermon

We barely notice the cough medicine on the shelf until the day the allergies hit. We don’t give a second look to the gas station until the needle points toward empty. And the car commercials? We flip the channel until our clunker finally gives up the ghost a... Read More »

4 Ways to Avoid Emotional Manipulation

In Part 1, we defined manipulation as shrewd or devious influence that seeks one’s own advantage. Biblical persuasion and emotional manipulation are often confused for the simple fact that they are differentiated by intent. A preacher’s passionate plea for... Read More »

Manipulation vs. Persuasion

“Please stand for the reading of God’s Word.” There it is: manipulation. Before you disagree, let’s get technical. Manipulation is the action of operating, arranging or controlling something or someone else. Any behavioral modification you influence as... Read More »

Engaging the Audience’s Emotions

C. W. Brister,[1]C. W. Brister was a professor of Pastoral Ministry at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, TX for 47 years. During this time it was said that Brister instructed more men in pastoral ministry than any other in the history of... Read More »

Cutting Unnecessary Details from Your Study

One of my favorite television shows from my childhood was Full House, which chronicled the life of a widower Danny Tanner, his three daughters (D.J., Stephanie, and Michelle), brother-in-law Jesse Katsopolis, and his childhood best friend Joey Gladstone as the... Read More »

Communicating Credibly

In the earliest surviving treatise on the subject of persuasion, The Art of Rhetoric (330 B.C.), Aristotle said there are three things that persuade listeners: logos, pathos, and ethos. Logos is the persuasive appeal of a sound argument supported by good evide... Read More »

So What’s the Big Idea: Making Our Sermons Concrete

As expositors, we’ve all struggled with how to make our sermons “stick” with our people. As we work through the text, wrestle with the syntax, and come to an understanding of the passage, we do so with the hope that on Sunday the congregation... Read More »

Bringing Your Audience Along for the Ride

As I write this post I have five children. Yes, five children. Four boys and one girl. All under the age of 8. Needless to say, things are a little crazy around our house. I am a father to three fun, wild, silly boys, one sassy-sweet little girl, and a 6 week ... Read More »

Incorporating Surprise into Your Sermon

What makes a good sermon?  Duane Kederman, of Christian Classics Ethereal Library, sought to find out some answers to this question, so he enlisted a target group to provide feedback.  Listeners stated several variables which made some sermons better... Read More »