Ep. 7 | Greg Stier and The Centrality of the Gospel

Ep. 7 | Greg Stier and The Centrality of the Gospel

CLARITY

PREACHING + COMMUNICATING FOR CHURCH LEADERS

Ep. 7 | GREG STIER and The Centrality of the Gospel

by Craig Smith | Clarity

IN THIS EPISODE

  • Fresh of the Winter Jam Tour with Greg Stier | 1:33
  • Planting Grace Church in Arvada, CO in 1998 | 3:57
  • What it looks like to adjust communication from one audience to the next  | 7:49
  • What have been the largest cultural changes amongst the audience (youth) that Dare 2 Share is geared towards? | 14:19
  • Preach the Gospel week in and week out – Take your scripture and make a b-line for the cross | 21:01
  • Take every last chance to reach every last one | 25:41
  • Theology should always end up at the foot of the cross – Share the Gospel every week | 28:00
  • The day I lose that nervousness for delivering the Word of God is the day I should hang it up | 30:59
  • Preach the Word and tie your shoes | 33:19

INSTANT TAKEAWAYS

1 | IF YOU HAVE TEENAGERS, YOU HAVE THE CONGREGATION

Greg is big on focusing on the next generation. After all, they will be the ones taking over what the previous generation has built when it’s time. Larry Osborne on his book Lead Like a Shepherd has a big emphasis on letting, “. . . letting young eagles fly”. When we focus our attention on trying to mobilize and engage the youth and make sure that they’ve bought into what we’re preaching, and the advancement of the Kingdom, that’s how battles are won. As Greg says, adults are good at faking it and nodding along. But when our youth are engaged and bought in, we’re moving somewhere for Him!

2 | Community > Individualism

For a very long time our culture placed extreme emphasis on individuals. And it still does today! That’s why the good news of the Gospel is so compelling, so counter-cultural. When you accept Christ into your life as your lord and savior that is an immediate community that you are adopted in to. And we’re seeing young generations turn to that, they’re really infatuated with the idea that they’re not in it alone. When we communicate the good news of the cross and what that means to them, we’re communicating that they’re community right here for you, and you’re valued in who you are in Christ.

3 | The Gospel is like a Grenade

“It doesn’t matter who pulls the pin, it’s going to explode.”

The best thing about the Gospel is that it stands on its own. It doesn’t matter who delivers it when people accept it, it’s always true. We are often so wrapped up in who gets the credit when people come to Jesus and that’s the exact wrong mindset. We should solely be concerned with people hearing the Gospel and celebrating when they come to Jesus. Nothing else matters!

SHOW NOTES

We are so excited to welcome you back to Clarity after a small hiatus. Today, we welcome on a very special guest, one with a very unique perspective on preaching. Greg Stier is the founder and leader fo an organization called Dare 2 Share Ministries and has had a profound impact on the Church, not only in youth ministry. Dare 2 Share is an incredible organization that is all about equipping teens to share their faith and youth leaders to build youth ministries that advance the Gospel.

Craig and Greg cover a wide range of topics from the centrality of the Gospel in their preaching to the impact that you can have on ministry when you’re precise and clear in your communication. You won’t want to miss this one!

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Ep. 6 | Mike Romberger and Unlocking Passion

Ep. 6 | Mike Romberger and Unlocking Passion

CLARITY

PREACHING + COMMUNICATING FOR CHURCH LEADERS

Ep. 6 | Mike Romberger and Unlocking Passion

by Craig Smith | Clarity

IN THIS EPISODE

  • Passing the torch from one man to another | 1:47
  • When did Mike really start to sense his call to preaching? | 3:06
  • The steps we take to hone our gifts and talents into something useful to others | 7:05
  • Is there anything you’ve tried to incorporate into your preaching style over the years that hasn’t stuck? | 12:41
  • Topical vs. Conceptual vs. Expository | 15:01
  • From Mission Hills in Colorado to Mount Hermon in California | 16:51
  • Commonalities of leadership application across a broad spectrum | 19:28
  • The ups and downs and ins and outs of being a guest speaker vs. an itinerant speaker | 21:51
  • If you had the chance to speak to every new preacher, what would you say? | 37:40

INSTANT TAKEAWAYS

1 | PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR GIFTS

We are woven into existence by an extremely creative God. A God that intimately and purposefully instils us with gifts. And it’s honoring to Him when we embrace those! We each have a different purpose, a different path to take, a different race to run. And He has equipped each one of us, individually, with gifts to honor Him along the way and we shouldn’t ignore that. Hold tightly and lean into what you’ve been handed by your heavenly Father. Feel that fire within as you embrace those gifts. Unlock your passions, lean into that unction.

2 | ACCEPTING CRITICISM

This is something none of us are initially very good at. It’s especially something that we don’t like to deal with. Face it, as helpful as (constructive) criticism can be, we’re all wired with a need to hear praise when we present something that is an extension of ourselves. But it’s necessary! By developing a sense to take constructive criticism, from those that love us, and take it to heart because all they want is for us to improve. We’re all developing, and pursuing growth, in one area or another at all times. Make sure that you take the pieces that will make you better, and apply them to your life.

3 | SPEND THE TIME

The greatest thing that you can do for your church, for your congregation is to preach great sermons. That doesn’t mean that you have to be an incredible communicator, there are plenty of amazing communicators that do not deliver great sermons. They’re just great communicators and that’s because they’re not using God’s Word for their foundation, they’re not putting in the time in the Word and studying the Scriptures. When you put in the work, the time and efforts, that’s what’s going to translate to the pulpit and help disciple those in your congregation and feed growth. Focus on your influence!

SHOW NOTES

Glad to have you back on the Clarify podcast for our sixth episode. We try and get these out on the second Monday of the month, but sometimes ministry happens. Today, we have an old friend on the podcast that we’ve been looking forward to since the genesis of this podcast, Mike Romberger.

Mike is an old friend of Mission Hills, the staff and the congregation as he was the senior pastor before Craig came on to staff. Mike has some amazing insight on what it looks like to lead a small church through exponential growth, laying out a foundation to build growing ministries upon, and delivered a fun, sweater-vest filled perspective on life from the pulpit. Listen in as Craig and Mike talk about everything from filling big shoes to establishing solid vision for a hungry congregation.

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Ep. 5 | Chris Brown and A Fresh Leadership Approach

Ep. 5 | Chris Brown and A Fresh Leadership Approach

CLARITY

PREACHING + COMMUNICATING FOR CHURCH LEADERS

Ep. 5 | Chris Brown and A Fresh Leadership Approach

by Craig Smith | Clarity

IN THIS EPISODE

  • What it looks like to co-Lead as a Pastor and the principles of Shared-Leadership | 2:07
  • Was Chris the guy preaching to the family dog at an early age? | 5:57
  • Coming back to the God he loves and watching the genesis of Him using Chris’s gift of communication | 9:28
  • Is a Youth Pastor even a “Real Pastor”?- It’s His timeline, not ours | 13:45
  • Stretching your thinking | Is the product itself, narrative?!  | 17:01
  • When in doubt remember, it’s not the Bible that is boring, it’s the people teaching it that are boring | The Story is Engaging | 21:12
  • Don’t seek your audience’s attention, seek their participation | 24:38
  • Is it just an uphill battle or is narrative, story telling, preaching making it’s way into the churches of America? | 28:01
  • Read the bible like you would any other book, notice how you read Dr. Suess | 30:58
  • Live what you preach | 36:48

INSTANT TAKEAWAYS

1 | THE IDEA BEHIND CO-LEADERSHIP

North Coast Church currently has Chris Brown and Larry Osborne as co-teaching pastors or co-lead pastors (they also share their time on stage, and their leadership duties with Chris Hilken). This is an interesting model because it runs counter-intuitive to the basic model of the American Church. Chris lets us peek behind the curtain as to why they’re running their church that was! Their philosophy behind this model is to promote growth and leadership for the staff that call North Coast home. By providing multiple teaching pastors, as Chris puts it, “the young lions don’t have to eat the old lions, or find a new pride to take over.” This also takes a step towards discontinuing the building of a church around a personality, which can be detrimental to the church’s survival if that pastor ever leaves. By focusing on Scripture, and the teachings of Jesus Christ, they’re able to produce an amazing leadership model, which emphasizes the importance on your vertical relationship with Our Father, not the horizontal relationship with who’s on stage.

2 | IF YOU’RE LOOKING TO START SOMEWHERE, START IN ROMANS

This is, as Chris argues, the only book that Paul wrote. The other pieces of literature of his, that are highlighted in the Bible, are various letters that he wrote to the people of the times. Far and away, very applicable today still! Romans though, it’s not a letter written to a church of the time, it’s not a reaction of who slept with you, it’s not accusatory of your actions and immorality of the past. It’s a, “Here’s what you need to know” guidebooks of sorts for Christian Living. Chris argues that the product of the Bible itself is narrative and this is a great example here. By looking at who Paul used to be, and who he is now writing Romans, and the impact Jesus had on transforming his life, it’s incredible.

3 | LET SCRIPTURE BE YOUR NARRATIVE

Every communicator needs to be entertaining or else, why would we bother listening? It’s a common misconception that our attention spans are getting shorter and we’re not able to process or digest long pieces of content or information anymore. Our attention spans are just not held by content that isn’t creative, cultivating, or interesting. Netflix (or really any streaming service) is a great example of this! Netflix is notorious for dropping entire seasons at a time for us to binge, and we happily oblige! We are hungry to consume content that we find relevant and compelling, our tolerance for the noise in our peripheral has just diminished. We are inundated every day with narratives and we’re interested the most in our own story, the story that we’re a part of. Make your sermons come alive, make them consumable.

4 | STOP APOLOGIZING

We serve a spotless God, and what we mean by that is He doesn’t make mistakes. He has called you to preach, to leadership, and that wasn’t by accident. So why are you focusing on your short comings? There’s no reason to dwell on the things that we don’t do well, and question why we are where God has placed us. That’s not to say, that you shouldn’t work on that stuff, you absolutely should! But be who you are. Be who God has called you to be. Stop wasting time on the, “I don’t have this, or I don’t have that” areas of your ministry. Silence the voices in your head telling you that you’re not good enough. He made us and He knows exactly who we are! Embrace that, let Him work through you.

SHOW NOTES

Welcome to our first episode of the 2019 year. On this episode, we welcome in Chris Brown, the co-Lead Pastor from North Coast Church in beautiful San Diego, California. Chris is in a unique role, sharing leadership duties and pastoral roles at the forefront of his church with Larry Osborne (to hear our conversation with Larry, head back to Ep. 1 | Larry Osborne on Dripping Wisdom). Chris is a wonderful leader who is passionate about having fun with your ministry and its direction while being clear on international communicating.

Join us today as Craig and Chris dive into what it looks like to bring people, “into the story” as communicators as well as stressing the importance of fundamental truths. You don’t want to miss this one!

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Ep. 4 | Chad Moore on BEING the Church

Ep. 4 | Chad Moore on BEING the Church

CLARITY

PREACHING + COMMUNICATING FOR CHURCH LEADERS

Ep. 4 | Chad Moore on BEING the Church

by Craig Smith | Clarity

IN THIS EPISODE

  • A small introduction Chad to Sun Valley Community Church in Arizona | 1:23
  • Called from the womb to the tomb | 3:17
  • Some things come naturally, and other things are cultivated over time, like The Gift of Clarity and The Art of Compressions | 9:41
  • How are we continuing to reach an increasingly, Biblically, illiterate culture? The difference between a doctor and a scientist | 15:28
  • The role of creativity in communication and how it’s fostered  | 20:31
  • Adjusted to the model of being on-screen at some campus locations for ‘multi-site’ | 26:09
  • Advice for new preachers and communicating God’s truth well | 30:57

INSTANT TAKEAWAYS

1 | THE CHRISTIAN LIFE IS ABOUT ABOUT KNOWING GOD

It’s very simple. In fact, Jesus spells it right out for us in the verse below! Often times we try to over complicate what it means to be a Christian; this set rules we have to follow. But Jesus didn’t come so that we can check off a list every day and get a pat on the head at the end. He came so that we could have life and life to the full. Behaviour directly affects belief. When we are here, and trying to resemble the characteristics of God, we are pursuing knowing Him more. That’s what it’s all about! The stories, the long chapters in the Bible are boiled down to relationships, and what it means to truly know our saviour.

Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. | John 17:3

2 | ALWAYS KNOW WHO YOU’RE TALKING TO

When you’re preparing a sermon, the weekend announcements, or even just a pitch to your congregation it’s important to keep your audience in mind. This can seem like a no-brainer, something that sounds like it was recycled from speech class in high school, but let’s take it a step further. Make sure that you’re hanging around people who are lost, make sure you’re having conversations with your friends who maybe don’t attend services on the weekends (the Biblically “illiterate”), and immerse yourself in familiar territory for your audience. You want to address beautiful, Biblical truth in a way that’s culturally relevant, in language that your local mechanic or small business owner can understand. The further we get from, “Christian-ese” and the closer we directly address our audience, the sooner we can reach people. Whenever you’re writing a message, constantly ask yourself, “Is this helpful”?

3 | YOU’RE MORE LIKELY TO OPEN A PRESENT IF IT’S WRAPPED WELL

And that’s creativity summed up in your messages. We really encourage you to love first and lead second, but always do both. Creativity is all about loving your people, it’s adding something in there so they’ll be excited to receive God’s word every weekend. It draws them in! We were made by an enormously creative God, and he loves when we hone in on our own creativity. You should pepper in personal story as much as you can. The vulnerability you show in your, “Not how I got it right, but how I got it wrong and I’ve struggled but ‘this’ will help you too”. Draw your people in and love them, while giving them an “upper-cut” of truth! Creativity forms an authenticity in your delivery and content that lands right in people’s sweet-spots. Foster your creativity because it makes God happy, draws your audience in, and breathes life into what you’re communicating. It doesn’t have to be some big, extravagant thing. You can, and should, work your own creativity into the nooks and crannies of what you’re delivering. It should ooze out of the finer details that so that it pushes past the ears and works its way into the heart. Remember though, it’s not creativity for creativity’s sake! It should be for a purpose, to deliver the points of your message to those listening.

4 | 3 HELPFUL TIPS FOR BEING PREACHING, WHILE BEING ON SCREEN AT OTHER LOCATIONS

1 // No one passed the fifth row is looking at your on stage, they’re looking at the side screens so look into the camera and use your face.
2 // “Talk-back” is helpful. When you’re reading from Scripture, have everyone read out loud with you. Look for participation, even though you’re not in the room.
3 // Have people stand at the end during prayer, i.e. – “If you’re in need of prayer, please stand.” Then have the people standing around them, pray for them. Then, the preaching isn’t just about content. It’s about leadership, it’s about ‘experience’, people can have “that moment” with Jesus, even though you’re on a screen.

SHOW NOTES

Welcome to our final episode of the 2018 year! Today’s guest is Chad Moore, the Lead Pastor from Sun Valley Community Church in Arizona. Chad is an amazing communicator and a guy that really thinks a lot about what he does when he’s preaching, and who he’s reaching. He’s very intentional in planning out he thoughts, how they’re going to be received, and how he can work in comic book references, “trojan horsed” and spiritual road signs! He’s funny, he’s a great friend and an even better speaker.

Tune in as Craig and Chad discuss what modern churches are marching towards, what it means to BE the church, and how to preach in such a way that creates culture, and moves “vision” forward.

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Ep. 3 | Scott Wenig on Touching Your Heart + Moving Your Will

Ep. 3 | Scott Wenig on Touching Your Heart + Moving Your Will

CLARITY

PREACHING + COMMUNICATING FOR CHURCH LEADERS

Ep. 3 | Scott Wenig on Touching Your HEART + Moving Your WILL

by Craig Smith | Clarity

IN THIS EPISODE

  • A strange beginning for Craig’s preaching, through Scott | 2:41
  • It’s important to draw success from those that have made an impression on you in the past with Dr. Haddon Robinson | 6:15
  • A technical look into Ethos, Pathos, Logos, and other historical pieces to build preaching styles | 6:51
  • A passion for preaching started with a mentor in College and strong discipleship | 11:01
  • Communication experience can come from anywhere and the difference between preaching & teaching | 15:17
  • Who inspires Scott from the pulpit | 18:22
  • What is encouraging from this latest generation of preachings and avoiding the trap of imitation | 23:11
  • Pay attention to your life first, you’re a follower of Jesus first and make sure that receives due attention | 32:29

INSTANT TAKEAWAYS

1 | MENTORS ARE INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT

Wherever we are in life, we are going to undoubtedly run into uncharted territory. there are going to be times where we stare into an unfamiliar abyss, whether daunting or inviting and ask ourselves, “How am I to face this?” And this is where mentors can come in. Good mentors can help you set measurable goals, and point you in the correct direction when the future can seem uneasy or unattainable. Mentors can help you realize giftings and passions that may lay dormant to you. They will never let you settle and become complacent as you are always striving to better yourself. Also, mentors will inspire you to be whom you can someday become. They will help you realize and achieve the growth that you’re capable of.

2 | Teaching vs. Preaching

Teaching is not totally, but primarily cognitive. You are trying to take information, from a multitude of areas, and communicate in a specific way in a specific amount of time. You’re trying to help people grasp information intellectually and subjectively. Preaching, while very cognitive and content-oriented, is trying to convey a message to your audience is more emotional in one way or the other. In the classroom, you’re trying to impact the mind and from the pulpit, you’re trying to impact the heart. Good preaching not only informs the mind, but it also touches the heart and goes to move the will.

“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us. God never hurries. There are no deadlines against which he must work.” A.W. Tozer

3 | Find Your Voice that IS UNIQUELY YOU

Often times we fall victim to the folly of imitation. In today’s society, when you’re trying to find your voice it’s easy to get swept up in a sea of options. But we argue that this is a good thing! If you’re a young preacher or communicator, it’s easy to say, “We don’t know what we don’t know”. But that doesn’t have to be the case. When you come across tricks, styles and tones that interest you, don’t be afraid to try them out. When you are pushing yourself in uncomfortable directions, you can often find traces of your voice and speaking style that feel uniquely you, and not imitative. Research who moves and motivates you and then ask yourself why that is. Don’t be afraid to grow into who you are through pushing yourself into areas that you find interesting. Don’t be afraid to beg, borrow, and steal from whomever you can to help you clearly communicate the message of Jesus to those around. 

SHOW NOTES

We are glad to have you back for the third instalment of our Clarity Podcast. Today’s guest is Dr Scott Wenig. Scott is an amazing speaker, a thoughtful theologian, as well as a man who is passionate about creating clear, concise messages that lead people closer to the Gospel. Scott serves as professor of applied theology, teaching in the areas of homiletics, church history, and pastoral ministry. He earned a PhD from the University of Colorado at Boulder, an MDiv from Denver Seminary, and a BS from the University of Colorado at Denver. And today we get to hear about what lead him to pursue preaching along with the mentors in his life that lead him to where he is today.

Tune in as Craig and Scott dive into the essentials of teaching adults as well as teens, changing college majors to listen to your calling, and Scott’s tough stint as a basketball coach. You won’t want to miss out.

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Ep. 2 | David Hegg + The Three C’s of Preaching

Ep. 2 | David Hegg + The Three C’s of Preaching

CLARITY

PREACHING + COMMUNICATING FOR CHURCH LEADERS

Ep.2 | David Hegg + The 3 C's of Preaching

by Craig Smith | Clarity

IN THIS EPISODE

  • The one thing David didn’t want, at an early age, was to go into preaching | 2:36
  • After not being invited back to seminary, setting foot into the corporate world | 3:25
  • How the corporate world impacted preaching and getting your ‘meaning’ from The Text | 6:19
  • What role does an extensive education play in all of this? | 10:26
  • Have confidence when you, “go against the party line” + reconciling authorial intent | 15:03
  • “Luke, I am your father” and understanding narratives | 21:39
  • Putting together sermons | 26:20
  • Your preaching should impact your life first | 28:31

INSTANT TAKEAWAYS

1 | GET YOUR MEANING FROM THE TEXT

An expositional sermon is when the content structure and emphasis of the sermon are drawn from and accurately represent the text. There’s what in it as content, and there’s also a structure in each text that the author has put in. If you put those two together, you’re going to get the emphasis. An application of this could be seen in Ephesians 2: 1 – 10. Paul’s emphasis can be seen here in verse 10, we are His workmanship! What He has done for us, has made us His “show-off-piece!”. Structure + Content = Emphasis.
– Listen starting at 9:26 –

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. | Ephesians 2: 1 – 10

2 | PREACH THE BIBLE THE WAY IT WAS WRITTEN

If you’re going through Ephesians, read the whole thing. That book is a letter and is meant to be read in its entirety. It’s easy for a theme to get lost the further you break it down. Really push in and listen to the text; what comes before it and what comes after it. Read it and look for sign-post words, think about basic Bible Study Methods! Listen to the Word of God as The Word of God. At the end of the day, you want people to feel as if they can understand the Bible on their own. The more we put an emphasis on the preacher being essential for discerning what the Bible means, the more we’re inhibiting our congregations.  

3 | YOUR PREACHING SHOULD IMPACT YOUR LIFE FIRST

It’s so easy for us to just put something together and preach it, without being impacted by it. The more we look around us, and our brothers and sisters are falling to questionable behavior, we ask, “how can someone, who spends so much time in the Word, fall victim to something like this?” It goes from their text, into their mind, into their arm, into their computer and never impacts their heart. Don’t preach for notoriaty, don’t preach for fame, don’t preach for a big church to be “seen”, preach because your heart gets the best benefit of your study.

4 | THE 3 C’S OF PREACHING

1 // CONTENT
2 // COMMUNICATION
3 // CARE

SHOW NOTES

Welcome back to our second episode of the Clarity Podcast! We are so excited to welcome in David Hegg for this episode, who is the Senior Pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Santa Clarita, CA. David is passionate about God’s Word and believes the greatest need in the church today is for pastors to preach the Bible the way it was written. David had a little bit of an interlude in the corporate world after he was intr0duced to the world of public speaking him, that took him on a fascinating path to where he is today.

Tune in as Craig and David dive into teaching in your private and public life, the art and science of preaching as well as what it looks like to give your movement momentum.

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we believe in church that is

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