In an article for the August online edition of Leadership Journal, John Ortberg says that when we preach, we should begin with what matters. He writes:

“Years ago, I was excited about giving a particular talk, but it didn’t come out right. It was flat from the beginning and never perked up. When I was done, I sat down next to Bill Hybels and said, ‘That seemed kind of…blah.’ He said he totally agreed. (This might have been the only time I ever wished Bill had disagreed with me.) Then he told me something I’ve never forgotten.

“Anytime you’re listening to a really good speaker, they will answer this question in the first few minutes of their talk: Why is it urgently important that we discuss this topic?

“Up till then, I always had thought that good talks start with an attention grabber—maybe a story, or something funny, or a news item everyone is talking about. But the problem with merely trying to get people’s attention is it may not tap into their hunger for the topic. It can miss the why.

“If it’s not urgently important to talk about something, maybe I’m talking about the wrong thing.” (Click here to read the full article.)

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