Home Pastors Articles for Pastors A Guide to Effective Preaching – Introduction. Explanation. Application.

A Guide to Effective Preaching – Introduction. Explanation. Application.

Finding Your Unique Communicator’s DNA

I do this thing with every Senior Pastor I coach where for 10 straight weeks we do a top to bottom exploration of their unique communicator’s DNA.

I think through with them…

  • Whether they are left or right-brained
  • Whether they are driven by auditory or cognitive processing
  • What four to five types of information intrigue them and must be included in what they consider a “homerun” message for them
  • The best approach for them to draw out units of scriptural information
  • The most natural way for them to translate “what’s in their head” onto paper
  • The unique sticking points they encounter when they attempt to synthesize all this information into a cohesive presentation
  • How this written sermon document is best utilized in the preaching event
  • Ways to measure listener engagement
  • And finally, how this process fits into the ebb and flow of all of their other responsibilities

After doing this dozens of times, I’ve found that eight out of 10 Senior Pastors who used Me-We-God-You-We before this discernment process later said it interfered with how God wired them as communicators.

Now, praise God for those of you who find that Andy’s outline fits you like a glove. Seriously. Andy is amazing. I love him and appreciate his kingdom impact more than he’ll ever know.

I’d just like to offer a simple alternative that leads to effective preaching.

The Three Act Structure

When I became serious about writing 20 years ago, I discovered that the reason great books, novels and stories resonate with so many people over time is that they follow a three-act structure that is universal, simple and action-oriented.


The three-act structure has been around for 5,000 years and has been proven to work across borders, languages, ethnicities, cultures and worldviews.

American preaching techniques usually become popular when a megachurch pastor’s unique practice is packaged, sold and marketed by a Christian publishing company.

The problem with all of these approaches is they are recent and come from a specific viewpoint.

The three-act structure is ubiquitous.

For millennia people from every continent have used it to tell stories (beginning. middle. end.), tell jokes (setup. story. punchline.) and craft screenplays (act one. act two. act three.).


One reason three-act structures work is that they are easy to create and easy to follow.

Billy Wilder said, “In Act One, get your hero up a tree; Act Two, set the tree on fire; Act Three, get the hero down from the tree.”