Monday, June 4, 2012

How To Immediately Double--Or Triple--Your Teaching Impact

How many of the 52 sermons you hear each year can you remember? How about last week's sermon (a week before yesterday's sermon)? What were the three points your pastor shared two sermons ago? Three sermons ago?

You're not the only one coming up blank.

A majority of pastors put in 10-20 hours a week preparing those sermons. But only a very small percentage of what is said will be remembered even two weeks later.

Professional educators often use a graph such as this one (below), referencing Edgar Dale's Cone of Learning, to discuss how to improve their students ability to recall lessons.

Where is your church on this graph? How far down did you have to go to find your usual teaching approach?

Option 1: Work even harder to make your spoken-word-only presentation the most compelling and exciting spoken-word experience possible. Go for the full 20% possible (yes, of course the chart shows broad averages and there can be people who are exceptions).

Option 2: Change the format used and go from 20% on average to 50% on average, or even 80-90% recall--without a major change in content or charisma.

Think back about the experiences in your life you've grown the most from--that your remember most vividly. Taken a few seconds and list them. What type of experiences were they?

Remember, the Bible calls us to teach, not to fixate on one format of teaching. Jesus used multiple formats and so did the early church. We only got stuck on sermons in the middle ages.

If you have some input on teaching in your church, whether on Sunday or a side ministry (e.g. small group, youth group, etc), can you get all the way out of passive into active participation? If so, you could more than triple your impact. At the very least, what could you do to move one or two steps higher up the middle column of this graph?

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