- Giving Rocket Core Coaching Program. This is a 12-month coaching program to help you increase operational giving. Not capital campaign stuff – I’m talking about regular giving. If you want to do more ministry, hire staff, or expand outreach programs, you’ll need more money. This program gives you the coaching and the tools necessary for that to happen.
- Too many preachers shortcut the sermon prep process by downloading sermons and just changing a few things. I believe you were made for more. We teamed up with Jeff Henderson to create this 12-month coaching program to help you preach better sermons. A Thom Rainer study discovered 90% of people choose a church based on the preacher or the sermon, so if you get better at this, everything improves. Preaching is the most important (or at least the most visible thing) you do.
- When I was pastoring a church, I used to say we were driven by God but fueled by volunteers. Volunteer Rocket is a 7-step program to help you gain, train and retain volunteers. I talked to churches and did a ton of research to create this program, and I am absolutely confident it will work in your church.
- What Happens When You Give is a revolutionary tool. It’s a combination thank you note + booklet designed for you to mail to everyone w ho gives money to your church. Form letters are impersonal (and don’t work). Books are expensive to mail (and often aren’t read). This booklet is perfect. You get them by the case and send them to anyone who makes a first time donation. Churches are also sending them with contribution statements or handing them to people after a stewardship message.
- The Systems Bundle. This is a collection of five of my most popular resources. I used to sell them here on this site, but they have become a part of the Rocket Company family of resources. They are full of documents, forms, resources, ideas, sermons, graphics and more.
1. People wouldn’t listen simply because I was preaching.
2. People wouldn’t listen simply because I was preaching the Bible.
3. People wouldn’t remember all of my points.
NorthPoint just started a new series called You’ll Be Glad You Did. The kickoff message on February 24, 2013 was actually recorded by Andy Stanley on the previous Friday evening. It was the opening talk of a transit weekend retreat. Andy taught the message to a room full of middle school students, knowing it would be shown on Sunday morning in church.
Andy was teaching junior high school students, knowing the message would be shown at area churches on Sunday. As he walked off the stage Friday, a camera followed him as he addressed the adult service. It was like the Inception of sermons. Communicating to two audiences is a difficult task for any communicator.
I couldn’t help but think how many parents appreciated the look inside the message their kids are hearing at NorthPoint. But I also couldn’t help but jot down some notes on communication from Andy’s message. It was masterful.
Here are seven things I learned from Andy Stanley’s sermon to students.
1. Andy used a ton of humor. The message was all about labels, and how we accept labels from other people, and miss out on the fact that only our maker has the right to label us. Andy told stories from his own time in junior high school. He talked about getting the nickname “Sabertooth Andy” because his teeth were so messed up. (I bet a lot of people could relate to that). He talked about being labeled “not smart” after his teacher just wrote “NO” in red ink on a math test. Andy didn’t talk about all his successes in junior high…he made fun of himself. And whether you’re teaching junior high kids or senior adults, this is a great way to make a connection.
2. Andy built tension into his talk. I’ve seen him do this time and time again, but this message was a great illustration. There was a time when he wanted everyone to think about the question he was going to ask. Think about it, not answer it out loud. He spent several minutes baiting the crowd and setting up this moment, so by the time he put the question on the screen, it just hung in the air. Too many times, we assume people are interested in our message. Work on the tension early on and they will lean in.
3. Andy introduced an idea and then brought it back at the end. I’ve seen comedians do this throughout the course of a set, and it’s a great way to weave a major point through an entire message. In this case, Andy said that manufacturers, owners and purchasers had the right to label something. This came in the first few minutes of his talk and then he moved on. Later, he came back to this idea and said that God – the one who made you, owns you and purchased you – is the only one who has the right to label you. When you tease and idea or set it up early, you can come back to it later. Done right, it can be a great a-ha moment.
4. The message was short. The message was about 30 minutes. This might be longer than you think middle school students could handle (it’s not…you just can’t waste their time and you have to be on your game.) 30 minutes seems like the right length for most sermons. It’s not a hard and fast rule. In general, I think we need to say what needs to be said and then stop talking.
5. Andy started with them. I believe that while sermon preparation should start with the scripture, the sermon itself should start with the audience. The goal is to teach the Bible, but in order to do that effectively, we have to start with where people are. What are their hopes, dreams, fears, thoughts and desires? What are they thinking in that moment? The first minutes of Andy’s talk were not wasted…He was building a connection by starting with where they live and what they deal with on a daily basis.
6. Andy made the audience the hero. Here’s a secret….your audience loves to feel smarter than you. When you talk about the things you mess up, the people can relate to you. When you make them into the hero, they connect and pay attention. In this message, Andy referenced the room of adults listening (remember…this was an Inception style sermon!), and said, “Right now, there is a room of adults who are saying – I wish someone had told me these things when I was a kid.” Andy told the students they could get this right the first time. Without putting down anyone, Andy made a room full of junior high students feel like they could do something better than their parents.
7. Andy taught one passage. Andy got to Romans 12:1-2 and unpacked some meaning from that verse. It was a bite-sized teaching time – He knew it didn’t have to be the final word on the topic. He didn’t jump all around the Bible and confuse people with a bunch of verses. He taught one passage, and he taught it well. Of course, he used a sticky statement to tie it all together. The bottom line of this message was “The labels people put on you could cause you to miss God’s plan for you.”
Every Senior Pastor should teach students from time to time. It will keep you on your game and will force you to work on your craft. Adults will often sit through a boring message because they are supposed to…students usually will not.
As someone who cares so much about helping people communicate God’s Word authentically, passionately and effectively, it was great to see how Andy did so in front of junior high students. It was refreshing to see a Senior Pastor willing to communicate to junior high students. And a church willing to give show a message in the adult service on the weekend.
I learned a lot from Andy’s message. Not just about finding my identity in Christ, but how to connect with students. I don’t know if I’m an expert in communication, but I do love serving churches by helping the pastor preach better messages. That’s one reason I devote so much of my time to the Preaching Rocket Core Coaching Program. I don’t know of a better way to work ON your calling and your craft.
Last week, I heard one of the best conference talks I’ve ever heard. I’m not joking or trying to hype something, either.
It was from Andy Stanley at the Preach Better Sermons event in Atlanta. Andy talks about preaching with unchurched people in the room. He talked about how he prepares and delivers messages that actually connect with unchurched people. It was brilliant. One attender just sent us this:
I want to thank you for providing a place where someone who communicates at a pretty high level to large crowds could be challenged & grow. It’s honestly been years since I’ve really been challenged with a new way of thinking. Both Jeff & Andy’s sessions did that for me. I walked away with several new thoughts & practical ways to work on the craft of communicating. My ministry, preaching style & our church are better because of Friday. Hands down the best time & money we have spent all year.
You’ve got six more chances to hear this message because the Preach Better Sermons LIVE event is heading to Chicago, Nashville, New York, Dallas, Los Angeles and Orlando. Plus, there will be three other messages at each event. Jeff is doing one (and it’s incredible). The host pastor or a special guest is doing one (great people). And I’m doing a session.
If you use the code PREACH, you can get the lowest rate. Here is the full schedule with dates, locations and guest speakers.
- September 27 – Chicago – Soul City Church – Jarrett and Jeannie Stevens
- October 18 – Nashville – Cross Point Church – Pete Wilson
- November 16 – Los Angeles – Glenkirk Church – Reggie Joiner
- December 6 – New York – New Life Fellowship – Pete Scazzero
- January 23 – Dallas – Concord Church – Bryan L. Carter and Reggie Joiner
- February 21 – Orlando – TBD – TBD
If you’re a pastor or communicator, I really recommend you attend one of these six one-day events. When it’s all said and done, we will create a DVD of the full experience, but it won’t have Andy’s talk. That one is exclusive for the attenders. We’re not webcasting or broadcasting, so make plans to attend.
Here’s a short list of some of the stuff I favorited on Twitter, starred in Google reader or clipped into Evernote:
- In his day, Billy Graham spent millions promoting himself and his crusades, all so people could come HEAR HIM TALK ABOUT GOD. – Donald Miller in Some Thoughts on Self Promotion
- Jenni Catron on the difficulty of ministry and work.
- I am a pilgrim and a stranger on the earth, but I am not an orphan -Vance Havner
- Barna data on what churches are seeking to improve next year. What struck me as backwards was only 6% of churches saying they would definitely work with an organization to help increase giving” but doing so would actually help accomplish all of the other goals!
- There are only three real job interview questions.
- Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal. My strength lies solely in my tenacity. – Louis Pasteur (via @tonymccollum)
- The average email user receives 147 email messages a day.
- Loved this story about a church helping an atheist. We love to point out the dumb things Christians do – so it’s nice to give some love to those who get it right.
- “When you say ‘My people won’t do that’, what you’re really saying is, “I haven’t led my people to do that’.” @kevinpenry (via @geoffsurratt)
- Mobile purchases on smartphones and tablets are expected to grow 73% to $4.6 billion in the US this year.
- “The Father has so much more for you than just letting you come home.” – George Moxley
- Can you tweet your sermon’s main point? If not, keep working. – @tallywilgis
I’m honored to play a very small part in launching two things today. Super proud of both and wanted to let you know.
First, this new resource from Giving Rocket is something that church leaders have needed for a long time. It’s a short, mailable booklet that THANKS givers for their donation. It’s not a treatise on how they should give more – it’s a heart-felt appreciation for generosity. It comes with a blank thank-you note and an envelope and is the perfect thing to send first-time givers. Here’s a preview video.
Secondly, Preaching Rocket has officially left the launch pad. It’s a members-only coaching community for communicators who want to develop their skill and calling. The sermon is arguably the most important element of the weekend service – it’s certainly the most visible. Unchurched and churched people alike say they attend church primarily for the message, yet most pastors do not have an ongoing system for improvement. Jeff Henderson and the team at Preaching Rocket are going to change that by providing monthly coaching and usable story content. Check out the website and the benefits then sign up for a preview.
Have you heard about Preach Better Sermons, a FREE online event with Andy Stanley, Dr. Charles Stanley, Louie Giglio, Perry Noble, Jud Wilhite, Vanable Moody and Jeff Foxworthy. It’s happening on March 15 from 1-4 EST. All of these communicators will be sharing practical information on preparation and delivery, all to help you become a better communicator.
Check out this short video with Jeff Henderson and Jeff Foxworthy, and be sure to register for the event.
For the past six months, Casey and I have been working behind the scenes on something that I believe can revolutionize your church. The idea: Preaching Rocket – intentional, focused coaching to help preachers develop their skills in communicating the Gospel.
Since preaching is one of the most visible things in all of the church, we wanted to create a place where people could get coaching and resources to help them prepare and deliver their own sermons. Not an online database of content, but a coaching system to help them find and develop their own unique voice.
To kick that off, our friend Jeff Henderson helped us put together an amazing event called Preach Better Sermons. It’s a 100% FREE 3-hour, online conference on March 15 with some of the best speakers in the world.
Check this out.
Andy Stanley, Dr. Charles Stanley, Louie Giglio, Dr. Vanable Moody, Jud Wilhite, Perry Noble and Jeff Foxworthy.
All of these incredible communicators are going to open up about how they prepare and deliver sermons. Or in the case of Jeff Foxworthy – how he delivers some of the funniest stand-up comedy in the world. They are going to talk about what happens behind the scenes.
The event is absolutely FREE, and it will enrich you as a communicator. And it’s just the beginning. Preaching Rocket is going to deliver world-class coaching beginning on April 1. Check out some of the coaching topics:
- Personal development
- How to get three weeks ahead
- How to preach to the unchurched
- Finding your unique voice
- Creating an annual teaching plan
- Developing a team
Here’s a great sermon illustration that you could use in your preaching. After you read, would you leave a comment and share your feedback. Is this helpful for you? Do you think you would use it? Would you save it for later?
Title: How a failed video game led to the most successful game franchise in history
Tags: failure, second chance, leadership, mistakes
In 1980, a Japanese company called Nintendo came out with an arcade came called Radar Scope. If you’ve ever seen a game called Space Invaders, it looked a lot like that. It was a shoot-em-up, one button, one joystick video game.
It quickly became Nintendo’s biggest game of the year in Japan and Nintendo looked to expand into America. Hiroshi Yamauchi, who took over the company from his grandfather in 1949 set up his son-in-law to run Nintendo of America.
Yamauchi decided to go all in on Radar Scope and started manufacturing thousands of cabinets and shipping them from Japan to a warehouse in New Jersey. They were able to pre-sell about 1,000 of them, but 2,000 more remained in that New Jersey warehouse collecting dust. Nobody was biting…nobody was buying.
When they realized that Radar Scope wasn’t going to sell anymore, they began promising a new smash hit.
So here was Hinoru Arakawa with 2,000 useless video game consoles and a promise to deliver a smash hit that nobody had developed yet. He announced an internal competition and received several ideas from a young employee with no video game experience.
He took a basic story – a guy trying to rescue a girl from an evil villain. And the villain would be a giant gorilla. They made the decision to take these 2,000 Radar Scope video games and convert them to a new game.
At the time, conversion kits were commonly used to update older games to get a few more quarters out of the kids. It’s the equivalent of reheating yesterdays leftovers.
They took the Radar Scope cabinet and turned the monitor sideways, so the game would play from the bottom of the screen to the top of the screen. They created a story…a common plumber saves a girl from an evil villain. The little plumber with the mission of rescuing the girl was known as “jumpman” and was given the name Mario, a suggestion from the owner of the warehouse where these 2,000 video game cabinets were being retooled. The evil villain holding the girl hostage would be a giant gorilla. The game would be called King King.
They removed the old game board and put a new one in. They connected the wiring harness, slid out the old plastic art and slid in new art panels. It took two months, but all 2,000 video games were converted.
The hero from King Kong would go on to star in several other video games, including Super Mario Brothers…Nintendo’s biggest selling video game ever. Mario has starred in more than 200 titles.
If Radar Scope had been more popular, Donkey Kong probably wouldn’t have been invented. But a leader named Arakawa and his team at Nintendo took a failure and turned it into a successful game, and in the process, created the most successful video game character of all time.
WHERE YOU COULD TAKE THIS
1. Second Chances. “God, my God, I yelled for help and you put me together. God, you pulled me out of the grave, gave me another chance at life when I was down-and-out.” – Psalm 30:2 (The Message)
2. God isn’t through with you. “…for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.” – Romans 11:29
3. Failure isn’t fatal. “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26 (NASB)