I had a mixed response to, Communicating for a Change by Andy Stanley. Some parts were very helpful, but other parts were not.
Andy Stanley is a strong believer in sermons having one main point, which is a helpful way of preparing a sermon. Other points add to the main point. He also spoke about having a goal and engaging your audience. He made valuable comments about these things. Andy would say the goal of preaching is to change lives, but for me, I would say my goal is to change minds. If people’s minds are renewed, their lives will automatically change.
Then, there were several ideas in the book I didn’t relate to. The book begins with a fictional section where a pastor is discouraged because his congregation seems disengaged with his messages. This fictitious pastor spends time with a speaker in his truck as he travels across the country, discussing various aspects of preaching. I found this a long-winded way of introducing the topic and not one that I connect with. I skipped over this part of the book and went to the theory section. After I finished the book I did go back and read all the first part, which did emphasis Andy’s main points, but I still felt it was far too lengthy.
The other difficult I had was with one of Andy’s points, which he calls internalizing the message. This is so you can preach the message without notes. As he expounds this thought, it becomes obvious that he expects speakers to be great story tellers, who don’t repeat themselves or get lost in the details. Since I’m not that kind of speaker, I actually found this discouraging.
Nevertheless overall, there was enough good information in the book to make it a worthwhile read.
Update: After writing this review, I listened to several of Andy Stanley’s podcasts. I was surprised. It wasn’t obvious that he was following his own directives, which suggests to me, he isn’t bound to the seven imperatives that he listed in his book. I have also been listening to recordings of myself preach, one of Andy’s suggestions, and I have found this very helpful.