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5 Keys to Sticky Preaching

5) Create a Common Anchor.

Finally, the most powerful tool for pulling a diverse and moving target together is to tether everyone to a common anchor. Spiritually, that’s Jesus Christ; but organizationally, it’s needed as well. Without it, ministries and programs tend to become silos. And over time, diversity becomes disunity.

Our organizational anchor is something we call Sermon-Based Small Groups. We launched them when we were less than 200 in attendance because we could already see that our individual programs and ministries were pulling people in different directions. 

For over 25 years now, we’ve maintained an average of 80 percent of our adult weekend attendance in one of these groups. They are simple and organic, basically a lecture/lab approach to the weekend message. But they make the message and our church sticky. They keep the ever-widening diversity of our congregation from splintering into a cluster of factions, each with its own view of what our church should be and do. Whether a small group is made up of tattooed and pierced twenty-somethings or blue-haired senior citizens, the experience of discussing the sermon and trying to apply it is remarkably similar, and it bonds our congregation together at a cellular level.

These five principles have helped make North Coast a much stickier place. I encourage you to consider filtering some of your next sermons through these lenses. They aren’t a magical fix-all formula, but they have been powerful tools in my own preaching and ministry. By adhering to them, my messages have been able to stay fresh and sticky, despite the fact that I’m often preaching to a target that not only seems to be moving, but moving in every direction all at once.   

Originally published on SermonCentral.com. Used by permission.

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Larry Osborne is a senior pastor at North Coast Church in Vista, California. With 20 weekly services on five campuses, North Coast is known for both its innovation and its small back door. You can learn more about the principles he shared here in his upcoming book, Sticky Church (Zondervan/October 2008) and the Sticky Church Conference. You may also visit the North Coast Training Network at www.NorthCoastChurch.com/Pastors.