How to be a Better Communicator


I watched the Preach Better Sermons conference yesterday. So much great stuff when it comes to preaching and growing as a communicator.

Here are some things I learned that are dynamite for preachers:

  • 90% of unchurched people choose a church based on the lead pastor & the preaching.

The First 5 Minutes of a Sermon – Jeff Henderson

  • If you don’t engage people in the first 5 minutes, it is very difficult to grab their attention again.
  • When you start a sermon, you have to assume the worst. You can’t assume that people are already are listening.
  • In the first 5 minutes, great communicators are shrinking the gap: the physical and emotional gap between the person speaking and the audience.
  • Connect with the audience first, then bring on the content.
  • Connection is the most important thing in the first 5 minutes, not content.
  • Communicate that you are there to help people, not impress them.
  • 5 tips for the first 5 minutes: be like able (smile), tell a story, create tension (make them wonder what the solution is), ask, “Have you ever felt like this?” (this creates understanding), and tease the solution (say, “there’s a way to get ahead in ____”).

Jud Wilhite

  • Preaching is a gift. Ask God to steward his gift in you.

The Pain of Preparation – Jeff Henderson

  • If we aren’t careful, we skimp on preparation.
  • If we don’t get ahead on our preparation, our preaching suffers and our church suffers.
  • The better you prepare, the better you preach.
  • Preparation starts with empathy. You have to be empathetic towards the people you are preaching to.
  • When you have empathy, it causes you to make sure you are prepared.
  • Questions to ask for preparation:
    1. What does my audience currently think about this topic? Where is the pain point?
    2. What do I want my audience to think about this topic?
    3. What is my single most persuasive idea?
    4. What do you want them to do?
  • Until you can say “because of that, this is what I want you to do” your sermon prep is not done.

Transformational Preaching – Derwin Gray

  • Consecrate yourself.
  • You preach out of the overflow of your time with God.
  • Always preach the good news. People need good news, not advice.
  • Be compelling and clear.
  • Too many pastors are not overwhelmed by Jesus so they look for other things to be compelling.
  • Preach convicting sermons.
  • At the end of the sermon, people should want to join Jesus’ cause.


  • What was working?
  • What could have made this better?

Crafting Memorable Phrases 

  • A sticky statement is one that someone can memorize and utilize in their life.
  • One sticky statement repeated several times.
  • Sticky statement is your big idea, it is your elevator pitch of your sermon.
  • Can people take your sermon and remember it?
  • To create sticky statements, you must P.R.E.A.C.H.
    • Give people a word picture.
    • Rhyming is key to a sticky statement.
    • Use an echo in your statement: Nobody expected no body.
    • Use alliteration (contrasting): your soul is more important than your stuff.
    • Contrast different things.
    • The hook is what makes it memorable and tells them what you want them to do.


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