You Have Your Style, But It Is Not An Excuse

In reality every one of us has our own style when we preach. There has to be an integrity between who we are and our style, which is why if you copy your favourite communicator, it doesn’t seem to work very well (even if it seems to in your mind, ask your people – it doesn’t work very well!) But even though our style may be personal, this does not mean it is above critique or beyond repair. We should carefully consider every factor in our preaching and make any necessary adjustments. We do this not for some vain goal of personal perfection (not possible), but for the others’-centered goal of ministry effectiveness.

I appreciate the analogy Andy Stanley uses in his book, Communicating for a Change. He writes (p177):

In the past four years we have experienced a big influx of adults in their late fifties and sixties. Do you know why they come? Because we have reached their young adult children. Our “style” is not necessarily their “style,” but they are willing to make adjustments in order to be in church with their kids; kids they weren’t sure would ever engage with a church. They have adjusted their style in order to worship with their kids. Shouldn’t we be willing to adjust ours to reach their kids? Boring, confusing, complicated, scattered, and dry are all communication styles. But they are not styles worth defending. They are styles that should be abandoned.

8 thoughts on “You Have Your Style, But It Is Not An Excuse

  1. I have found personal styles when allowed without constraint goes into independence and results in inconsistency & drawing too much attention to oneself. I find it better to minister corporately as a body where we need to make adjustment in our styles so that a corporate style helps the ministry goal to be achieved optimally and consistently. This is true in a big group setting.

    We however do not encourage total abandonment of personal style as God uses it to reach certain group of people. When correctly matched, we encourage it in small groups.

  2. Yo, Nathan. I am sure we are talking about the same Andy Stanley. Can you give some definitive detail on what you mean by “impacted my walk.” It sounds good, but can mean anything.


  3. I have heard Stanley preach. Their delivery system for ministry and discipleship are unique and non-traditional. I disagree with the idea that its “It’s pretty much style with no substance.” The form is different and that throws off many people. The same is said of Ed Young, Jr., Rick Warren, and so forth. I believe at times it “can be” limited in depth. However, I have noticed these kinds of churches with a more family friendly approach and schedule, style, reach more unreached people. I’m a biblical preaching guy who is not a topical preaching lover (especially when it’s done to just bring the Word along for the ride).

  4. From Previous Post:

    Yet I realize there are some preachers who are “tinkering” with the big idea approach or “image based preaching.” I think it’s a good thing.

  5. Sure, Morris: By “impacted my walk,” I mean that Andy Stanley’s preaching has helped me to have a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ as I follow Him more closely. For example, his series on prayer (I think it was called “Can You Hear Me Now?”) revolutionized my prayer life and helped me to get more real and more personal with God. The series “It Came from Within” helped me to de-clutter some layers of grime that had accumulated in my heart and were preventing me from following Christ more fully. The series “LO$T” helped me to reassess and realign my priorities with God’s priorities. I could go on and on. Pastor Stanley’s Bible teaching has helped me to be a more fruitful Christ follower and challenged me to be a better preacher.

  6. Nathan,

    I’m glad that the Lord has used Andy to draw you more closely to Him. Knowing Him more intimately and following Him more closely should be the goal for us all, and the goal that each pastor has for his flock.


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