Five Star Wars Preaching Tips

I just finished watching episodes I-VI of Star Wars for the very first time. No, I do not live under a rock, and no I am not a part of the dark side. It just didn’t seem that appealing to me, and after watching them, my intuition was correct.

StarWars

Even though I wasn’t amazed by the movies, I realize that I’m probably in the minority. There are millions upon millions of people who absolutely love them. So, I don’t want to be too quick to write them off, because there are some things we can learn from them.

In fact I believe they can teach us a lot about preaching messages that connect with our audience. Here’s five tips I took from the movies:

  1. Hone Your Intro.

Is there a movie intro any better known than the Star Wars scroll with the theme music behind it? I don’t think so. The introduction invites you into the story. Yet, so many preachers mess this up week after week. “How’s everyone doing today?” or “What about this weather?” is not an acceptable introduction, although it is the quickest way to get people to tune you out. Your introduction should grab people’s attention and get them excited for what’s to come.

  1. Tell a Great Story.

Every great story ever written pales in comparison to the story God has already wrote. One of the reasons I believe Star Wars is so popular is because the main storyline “Good versus Evil” is a direct reflection of the Bible. When you’re preaching, place your audience into the story you’re telling. How will their story look differently if they follow Christ? Answer that question for them.

  1. Get Creative.

George Lucas introduced us to some incredible characters and places. He wasn’t afraid to get creative, and it paid off huge. You should do the same. Just remember there’s a fine line between being creative and being annoying. I’m thinking of you JarJar Binks? Don’t be afraid to use a whiteboard, props, or a song that will help illustrate the story better.

  1. Leverage Technology.

The technology used in the first Star Wars films was revolutionary at that time. No one had ever seen anything like it. This created a buzz around the films that has lasted decades. We now live in the most technologically advanced era of all time. People may not be carrying their Bibles to church, but they are carrying their phones, so make use of the YouVersion Bible App. Integrate pictures, videos, and the scriptures on screen. People will remember more if you stimulate multiple senses.

  1. Finish Strong.

The highlight of my entire Star Wars viewing experience was the fight between Obi Wan and Anakin at the end of Episode III, followed by the emergence of Darth Vader. It was an incredible moment. The end of your sermon should be no different. You’ve spent thirty minutes telling a great story, now is your opportunity to invite the audience into it. Don’t shy away from it, the force is strong with you.

Every preacher is going to have their own style and preferences, but I believe the use of these five tips can be beneficial to us all. I may have not been a fan of the movies, but I am a fan of good preaching, and we all know preaching the gospel is a great way to fight the dark side.

Are you a Star Wars fan? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments below, and if you’re interested in more preaching tips subscribe to my mailing list to get my free Ebook “8 Steps to More Impactful Preaching”.

Every Sacrifice Demands Another

Balance. It’s a popular word when we talk about our lives. But is it possible? And if so, is it even something we should be striving to achieve? I think it depends on what we have to sacrifice in order to get it.

sacrifice

My family, like so many others, is in the midst of tee ball season. My six-year-old daughter enjoys it, my wife loves it, and I’m able to tolerate it for the eight weeks or so it lasts. We sacrifice to make it happen.

For some, like me, it’s a bigger sacrifice than others. I would rather be home catching up on reality TV during the week or taking my wife out on a date on the weekends. However, the enjoyment my wife and daughter get from it outweighs my sacrifice.

Tomorrow, I’m going to play in a charity golf tournament. I play golf once or twice a year, which means I’m terrible at golf. But it’s for a good cause, and I get to hang out with my friends. I’m sacrificing time with my family, but they’re ok with it because I prioritize them throughout the year. At least I think I do.

You see, what worries me is that, if we’re not careful, we can lose sight of the sacrifice. And before we know it, we’ll sacrifice our family, when we thought we were just sacrificing time with them. We’ll sacrifice our marriage, when we thought we were just sacrificing date nights. We’ll sacrifice our spiritual life, when we thought we were just sacrificing a few Sunday services.

My fear is that we’re so consumed by the here and now we may end up sacrificing our future.

We overvalue the urgent and marginalize what’s really important.

Husbands, we cancel dates with our wives to get some extra hours in at work.

Wives, we neglect intimacy with our husbands so the kids can sleep in the bed with us.

These seem like small sacrifices with little consequence, yet over time they can demand a much bigger sacrifice.

We all would be wise to ask ourselves, “Is it going to be worth it?” If not, start taking steps now to change your future.

How have you seen small sacrifices lead to bigger sacrifices in your own life? What would you tell someone else who is going down that path? I’d love to hear your answers in the comments below.

4 Keys to Gain & Retain Volunteers

If you’re a pastor or church leader, you need more volunteers. How do I know this? Because I’ve been in ministry long enough now to know that you can never have enough volunteers. In this post, I’m going to show you how you can not only gain volunteers but also keep them serving for years to come.

VolunteerOrange

One of my favorite roles I’ve ever filled in the church was one called Volunteer Coordinator. In this role my main job was getting people moved from sitting to serving.

I absolutely loved it. There’s something amazing about getting people to recognize the gifts God has given them, and then use those gifts to impact someone else’s life.

Recruiting volunteers isn’t in my current job description, but it’s something I still love to do. What I’ve discovered is there are four keys to gaining and retaining volunteers. Get all of these keys in place, and your job just got a lot easier.

  1. Vision – If you’ve been involved in church for any length of time, you know it’s easy to forget what it’s like to be a guest. Here’s a reminder: guests don’t sign up to serve unless they know the why behind it. Your vision should answer that why. My pastor says it like this: “You’re never more like Jesus than when you serve.” Its simple, its compelling, and it answers the why.
  1. Culture – Culture is how people describe your ministry when you’re not in the room. Let’s face it, most small town churches have a reputation of burning out their volunteers. If this is the culture at your church, don’t expect people sign up to serve. First, you have to change the culture. Tell your volunteers “thanks” every chance you get. Handwrite them letters, and brag on them from the stage. Your goal should be to make everyone who is not serving jealous because of how well you treat your volunteers.
  1. Invite – Once the vision is clear and the culture is great, you’re ready to start inviting. As the pastor, you can do this from the stage and get good results, but I’ve seen even better results take place when one friend invites another to serve alongside them. I even wrote a post about all the different ways you can invite people to serve. Remember, when you’re inviting don’t talk about needs; talk about opportunities to use your gifts. People don’t get excited about needs. They get excited about making a difference in someone’s life.
  1. Train – Last but certainly not least, you need to train them in their role. This doesn’t have to be extensive training necessarily. You just need to make sure they know what they’re doing. I’ve found the best way to do this is by having a new volunteer watch someone else do it first, and then having them do it while an experienced volunteer is there to help. Once they feel comfortable, they’re ready to do it on their own. Don’t forget the quickest way to lose volunteers is putting them in a position for which they don’t feel qualified. So, take the time to make sure they’re adequately trained.

That’s it. A compelling vision, a healthy culture, invite some people, train them up, and your church should be full of great volunteers. Oh, and don’t forget to appreciate them throughout the year.

What are some things you’re doing that are making an impact in your volunteer ministry? I’d love to hear about it. Leave me a comment below, and if you haven’t already make sure to subscribe so that you get tips on leadership, church growth, and more straight to your inbox.