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preaching with clarity

“To me, marketing is about values. This is a very complicated world, it’s a very noisy world. And we’re not going to get the chance to get people to remember much about us. No company is. So we have to be really clear on what we want them to know about us.” — Steve Jobs to Apple employees, 1997

If you have accepted the responsibility of a preacher, it’s important to remember we live in a “complicated … very noisy world.”

When people grant us the privilege of their ear for 25-40 minutes each weekend, we have to treat that privilege like it really is: a sacred opportunity to bring a word from God to their world.  While the outside noise may minimize during a worship service, it’s still there.  Thoughts of the previous week, worries about the upcoming one.  Playing a conversation over again in their mind.  Settling down from an argument on the way to church.

And that’s just the noise inside the preaching moment.  Once they leave, the volume only increases.

Competing philosophies voice their opinion over the airwaves and across web pages.  Our word from God is immediately challenged by the words of commentators, authors, artists, and well-meaning friends.  Our complicated, noisy world kicks-in.

As Jobs said to his employees, “We have to be really clear on what we want them to know about us.”

For preachers, our goal is not that they will remember us; it is that they will remember what God’s word has said to them.  That requires clarity.  Without clarity, life-changing words get lost in the noise of unnecessary words.

Be ruthless in the writing and editing of your messages.  Continually ask yourself, “Does my message need this?”  If not, strip it out.  With clarity comes power and persuasion.

We cannot out-shout the world.  We can be clear.