Have you ever said something you wished you hadn’t? What about in front of thousands of people? Perhaps you don’t stand on any ‘physical platforms’…well, don’t disengage, this blog is still for you!
It wasn’t long ago that I presented these key points on Hillsong’s Culture for Preaching and Teaching to our Staff, even though many of them don’t speak on our platform on a weekend or even during the week. Yet, all of us do have opportunity in one form or another to speak into the lives of others and it’s always wise to examine the way we communicate, what we communicate and the impact it has on our audience. I’ve learned some valuable lessons over 30 years of preaching and teaching in public—many through my own error.
Culture, atmosphere and DNA in a church is not accidental. Just like culture, atmosphere and DNA of your home is not. You have to be deliberate about it—especially from the ‘platform.’ Leadership in this area is about making intentional and focused choices, and taking a degree of measured risk.
So wherever you have the chance to input into others—take a look at these guidelines to building a strong platform teaching culture in your church or homegroup—many of them can also be applied to your family life or worklife. There are 30 points—one for each year of experience!
1. IS POSITIVE.
Don’t preach to an individual—using the platform to get a personal message across to an individual is cowardly and blesses no one.
2. IS IN LINE WITH OUR BELIEF.
Don’t contradict basic fundamentals and doctrine. Make sure you know what they are BEFORE you take the platform.
3. HAS A SET TIME LIMIT.
Hillsong Church typically has a 35-minute time limit on messages. Be a good steward of people’s time. Be reliable. You can do a lot of waffling in 60 minutes! You are entrusted as a steward of the platform you are on—the moment you go over time, you are outside of your authority!
4. MUST BE PROVEN IN THE BIBLE.
If you can’t prove it, don’t say it. The platform is not for your opinions, it is God’s Word that matters. Every Scripture reference must be in context and within the tenure of Scripture = credibility and respect.
5. MANY HOURS OF MEDITATION, PREPARATION & FAMILIARIZATION.
All three are important. 1) Think things through. 2) Get the structure as polished as you can—it must impact. 3) Be familiar with your message so you get it across clearly and effectively.
6. CHECKED FOR OVERUSE OF “I.”
It is not about you. People will see through a self-focused message and it doesn’t build others.
7. FOCUSED ON HELPING, NOT IMPRESSING.
Joyce Meyer once made a comment that really helped me with this, after I had asked her if she ever gets nervous? She said: “I never think about myself, I just think about helping people.” This attitude will keep your focus on course.