Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed

Ask Andy 1

AndyNthPt.jpgI’m asking Andy Stanley some questions about preaching, and I will be recording his answers here.

Well, I’m cheating when I say that: I’m reading his book (Communicating for a Change: Seven Keys to Irresistible Communication
) and generating questions that are answered by his chapters. Sorry, but I think that first paragraph was Andy-esque.
Question for preachers: What is your goal when you preach?
Now my question for you: What is the best evidence that you are preaching according to one of his three goals below? How would you measure the differences?
He poses three answers (and I add the “The goal is…” statements):
1. To teach the Bible to people — and you go through books and are satisfied if you have been faithful and taught what is there. The goal is information.
2. To teach people the Bible — and you go through books but you are focused more on your congregation. Illustrations and applications are more pronounced. The goal is application.
3. To teach people how to live a life that reflects the values, principles, of the truths of the Bible. And here Andy suggests that choosing texts is about what needs to be said and what needs to be done by the congregation. The goal is inspiration.
Andy says this has not only the “So what?” but also the “Now what?” [I preached at Andy’s church and I have to wonder what in the world he thought of what I did. But I do know I’ve shifted from #1 early in my career to somewhere between #2 and #3.]
Comments read comments(17)
post a comment
Travis Greene

posted April 6, 2010 at 8:56 am

I hope he doesn’t say those are discrete categories, and that you have to pick just one.

report abuse

John Koessler

posted April 6, 2010 at 8:57 am

David Wells writes about the ?revelatory trajectory? of theology and says that Scripture needs to be ?…de-contextualized in order to grasp its transcultural content, and it needs to be re-contextualized in order in order that its content may be meshed with the cognitive assumptions and social patterns of our own time.? This sounds like the task of preaching to me. If the sermon is disconnected from either context (ancient or modern) it loses its living voice.

report abuse

derek leman

posted April 6, 2010 at 9:13 am

I was there for both of your sermons at Northpoint. I would say you were well-focused on #3.
Having said that, I think that there is a place of 1,2, and 3. I do not think that the head, heart, and hands can be separated. Teaching that is predominantly #3 will rarely challenge intellectually and assumes that we are merely creatures of will and action. We are creatures or intellect, emotion, and will. And all is integrated, so study, challenge, and inspiration are all needed.

report abuse


posted April 6, 2010 at 9:19 am

Derek #3-
As someone who attends Northpoint, I can say that Andy incorporates much of #1 & #2 into #3.

report abuse

Matt Dabbs

posted April 6, 2010 at 9:26 am

Is this sort of like Andy Stanley Jeopardy? Stanpardy? I was blessed by this book.

report abuse


posted April 6, 2010 at 10:08 am

“Question for preachers: What is your goal when you preach?”
….to prepare hearts for worship, a la Romans 12.
Sounds like I’d fit somewhere between #2 & #3. At least that is my hope!

report abuse

Jeff Doles

posted April 6, 2010 at 10:57 am

Information, application, inspiration, motivation, exhortation, orientation, consolation ~ I see all of these are part of the preaching and teaching function, and leading to transformation. And not just giving a man a fish, but teaching him how to fish.

report abuse


posted April 6, 2010 at 11:21 am

What about “formation” as a goal, shaping a people who desire God’s Kingdom to come and God’s will to be done, in them and in the world?
I am currently reading James K A Smith’s book, Desiring the Kingdom, and I recommend it as a formational approach to education and worship, rather than a cognitive approach. He contends that we are people of desire, and that our desires 9and thus our thoughts and actions) are profoundly shaped by our culture and practices. I agree with him… what good is it to convey information or application when we still desire things that are less than godly?

report abuse

John W Frye

posted April 6, 2010 at 11:25 am

For a while an idea floated about in evangelicalism that if people were taught truth, they would automatically live truth. So churches became little institutes of Bible learning. Alas, the Barna polls erupted showing a vast gap between Christians’ knowledge and Christians’ values. Mere information did not reach the goal of 2 Tim 3:16-17. “Application” became the big thing. Put the text in working clothes. A preaching impossibility because what one communicator (pastor) has any idea the vast histories, hurts, dreams, disappointments, guilt of 100s if not 1000s of people before him or her? Help, Holy Spirit! Inspiration is good. Motivation is good, too. As I’ve read and practiced and listened to some of the best and imitated and read more (Scot, I’m just about done with Lowry’s *The Homiletical Plot* and I’m wondering how how to mesh that with this post). So, here is it for me… The goal is ENCOUNTER. With all the preparation, prayer, neat new ideas, I aim for people to encounter the living Christ through the written Word proclaimed. Encounter is the goal.

report abuse

Dana Ames

posted April 6, 2010 at 12:23 pm

Christ is risen!
I’m with KrisAnne and John, 8&9 above. I’ve been churched all my 54 years. I remember five sermons, I think. The ones that stay with me the longest are all about Formation and Encounter. The rest could keep me going, but it wasn’t long at all before I saw I was going around in circles.

report abuse

Joel Oscar

posted April 6, 2010 at 12:45 pm

I recently heard Dr. Craig Satterlee speak about preaching “Jesus not Oprah” and he would say (and I agree) that “proclamation” is at the heart of preaching. Jesus is Savior, Jesus is Lord. The response-oriented preaching that Andy is writing about(as well as the Formation and Encounter preaching in the comments) are good if they stem from that proclamation.
Do we think it is our own power that creates response, formation, or encounter? Jesus is Lord!

report abuse


posted April 6, 2010 at 1:11 pm

We show Andy at our church and we’ve noticed people will re-call what he preached about in the past well. He can preach a one point message that can haunt you all week. So I’m hoping we’re landing in the 2 and 3 too!
With all the buzz around ‘spiritual formation’ I think the important thing is to step back and see if people are DOING what the Bible teaches and not get all bent our of shape over the HOW they are being formed. We all get to the DOING of scripture a bit different, AND we all change as we grow in that as well. Consider that even Scot pointed out that he started with #1 and has shifted to 2 & 3. I wish we could chill out over this a bit. Spiritual formation is certainly a journey and not a destination.
Lastly, I was inspired (to use the word) to read the Blue Parakeet and read this blog regularly from listening to all three messaged Scot McKnight preached at North Point (online, I don’t attend NPCC). His messages were GREAT some of my favs. You can find them (for a buck) at the North Point Resources website. They are 2 parts on The Jesus Creed (surprise, surprise) and Reading the Bible With Magic Eyes. Really good, really good.

report abuse


posted April 6, 2010 at 1:17 pm

John’s comment at #9 resonates.
I recently enjoyed reading a piece that called for “testimonies rather than lectures”. It has this:
The sermon, as it leaves his lips, makes a hollow sound on the ears of the congregation, but no one realizes that either. It is homiletically top-rate and three-pointed. They know they should appreciate it if they are spiritual, so they believe they have been well-served. They say, “It was a good sermon.” If this goes on Sunday after Sunday, a vague melancholy sets in unawares.
She roots part of her thinking in Psalm 51 where David promises to help sinners return to God. She also says, I’ll gladly sit an hour for examples of how the preacher’s faith enabled him to extinguish the flaming arrows of the wicked one (Ephesians 6:16). Thrill my soul with specifics on how moment-by-moment obedience was rewarded with God’s manifesting himself to you (John 14:21). What did that look like?

report abuse

Travis Greene

posted April 6, 2010 at 1:21 pm

Dana @ 10,
I see your point, but I’m not sure if remembering sermons is a measure of their effectiveness. How many Bible studies, or prayers, or litrugies, or Eucharists do you really remember? How much of every day spent with our families or friends do we really remember in specificity? Our formation as worshipping persons has to do with habits of mind and body that we are rarely fully conscious of.

report abuse

Dana Ames

posted April 6, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Christ is risen!
I see your point :)
For me, remembering a sermon is a measure of its effectiveness, because it somehow has had an impact on the habits of my mind and body. It’s not about “total recall” of detail, but how deep the meaning was made for me, and how deeply I took it into me so as to truly affect my life.
Formation is a reciprocal, and a sort of spiral thing; as we open to the Holy Spirit and do what we need to do from our side for it to happen, it enables us to to be open to the HS and to do what needs to be done, and hopefully it goes deeper each time ’round.

report abuse


posted April 6, 2010 at 7:26 pm

Re # 2 John Koessler
I am not quite comfortable with Wells? formualtion of decontextualising and then recontextualising. It is as if he thinks he can do the first part of the job, that we can extract the timeless truths of scripture and then apply them to our modern situation. I think this is ambitious bordering on the fanciful. Even our ?decontextualised? verion of what scripture says will be timeladen and not ?timeless?. All we can really try and do is what Gadamer described as seek a fusion of the two horizons of then and now.

report abuse

Jim Martin

posted April 7, 2010 at 1:13 pm

I like the way that A. Stanley expresses these three goals. I would say that much of the time, I desire for #3 to happen. I do think there are probably some occasions (and even texts) that may lend themselves more toward #2 and even #1.
Having said this, I find myself more and more drawn toward what John Frye said in his comment above regarding encounter. I suspect that it is such a holy moment that is behind the comments that some will make regarding a sermon and how much they appreciated a point regarding this or that — and I never said such a thing. Yet, for some reason, this was an incredible message for them.
I certain don’t want to diminish what can be learned from A. Stanley. He is a superb communicator from which I have learned a great deal and continue to do so.

report abuse

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to and may be used by in accordance with the agreements.

Previous Posts

More Blogs To Enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting Jesus Creed. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy: Red Letters with Tom Davis Recent prayer post on Prayables Most Recent Inspiration blog ...

posted 11:15:58am Aug. 16, 2012 | read full post »

Our Common Prayerbook 30 - 3
Psalm 30 thanks God (vv. 1-3, 11-12) and exhorts others to thank God (vv. 4-5). Both emerge from the concrete reality of David's own experience. Here is what that experience looks like:Step one: David was set on high and was flourishing at the ...

posted 12:15:30pm Aug. 31, 2010 | read full post »

Theology After Darwin 1 (RJS)
One of the more important and more difficult pieces of the puzzle as we feel our way forward at the interface of science and faith is the theological implications of discoveries in modern science. A comment on my post Evolution in the Key of D: ...

posted 6:01:52am Aug. 31, 2010 | read full post »

Almost Christian 4
Who does well when it comes to passing on the faith to the youth? Studies show two groups do really well: conservative Protestants and Mormons; two groups that don't do well are mainline Protestants and Roman Catholics. Kenda Dean's ...

posted 12:01:53am Aug. 31, 2010 | read full post »

Let's Get Neanderthal!
The Cave Man Diet, or Paleo Diet, is getting attention. (Nothing is said about Culver's at all.) The big omission, I have to admit, is that those folks were hunters -- using spears or smacking some rabbit upside the conk or grabbing a fish or ...

posted 2:05:48pm Aug. 30, 2010 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.