Preaching for Life Change - Leaders.Church

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Preaching for Life Change

Video Transcript Below

Dick Hardy 0:01
Scotty and I worked together for a number of years back in the early 2000s. We’ve stayed in touch with each other from a friendship standpoint.

Dick Hardy 0:30
Scotty is a tremendous communicator and a gifted lead pastor at People’s Church there in Oklahoma City. He lives in the world of pastors creating sermons. His heart is that those sermons would penetrate the hearts of the hearers and that they would actually see life change.

Dick Hardy 1:09
So, we’re going to talk about “Preaching for a Change,” for lack of a better term. We want to see what Scotty has to say, that would help all of us as pastors, preachers, be able to communicate for life change. So, Scotty, give us a jumpstart on what you’ve got there.

Scotty Gibbons 1:23
Absolutely. I think it’s such a big deal, because for those who are preaching every single week, you’re pouring your heart into it. Right? So, I’m talking about all of the prayer. There’s an exertion of strength and energy that goes along just with the spiritual battle of it.

Scotty Gibbons 1:39
You’ve got the whole practical side of sermon prep. So, you’re studying, you’re researching, you’re writing it out. Everybody’s trying to come up with practical, clever ways to present some truth and some sticky sayings. So, you do all of that, not to mention get up and pour your heart out to the people right? And so, as preachers, when you’re doing that every single week, sometimes, it can be discouraging for all of us. Because as you’re giving it all you’ve got, it just seems like you’re speaking to the frozen chosen. “We shall not be moved.” Yeah, is it making a difference?

Scotty Gibbons 2:15
Whether or not we’re taking this verse out of context or not, in Isaiah we like to all say we just know, God’s word is not going to return void. We’re claiming that or maybe that song that we want to say, “Even when I don’t see it, I know your Word…” I think a lot of pastors can just relate to singing that on the way home Sunday afternoon.

Scotty Gibbons 2:36
The truth is, we just want to see a difference. We want to see fruit. We want to see fruit that remains. We care about this. So, that’s why we take it so seriously.

Have you ever sat down to write your message for the weekend and realized you don’t know where to start? Take a look at the Sermon Starters PDF for a multitude of effective strategies to get you started.

Scotty Gibbons 2:45
I guess the first thing that I would say is I think that as preachers, we’ve got to be so careful that we not fall into the trap of trying to measure God’s eternal work with our earthly eyes. In other words, we can’t be so addicted to watching for the results or some type of response where we think, “Okay, I’m doing a good job, or I’m not doing a good job” based on what I see.

Scotty Gibbons 3:08
People with tears? Okay, I must be doing a really, really good job. Or off of what people say in the lobby on the way out, you can’t go by that. Really and truly, we have to be disciplined enough to say, “I can trust God with an empty altar.” And that’s kind of scary thing.

Scotty Gibbons 3:25
God, if I’m obedient and just do what you tell me to do, I’m going to let the Word do the work. I’m not going to become so consumed with cute, clever sayings, that I’m trying to make my content that just generates some immediate response. I’m about lasting fruit.

Scotty Gibbons 3:39
So, I think I would just acknowledge right out of the gate that this is a very spiritual thing, that we don’t want to become focused on the wrong things when it comes to trying to move people.

Dick Hardy 3:50
Exactly. So, when you’re when you’re in that situation, Scotty, if you’ve got that right perspective, what else do you need to be thinking about in terms of seeing the life change that sometimes you see and sometimes you don’t?

Scotty Gibbons 4:04
Well, I really do think that it’s such a spiritual work to where only heaven will tell the full story. But there are some very practical things we can do, just as communicators. I’m not trying to do the work of the Holy Spirit. Only the Holy Spirit can do that. But just as a communicator of truth, I think that there are two specific things that would just help all of us to think about.

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Scotty Gibbons 4:23
The first thing is just to answer the question, “So what?” Then the second question would be, “Now what?” So, when presenting truth, hoping to see some type of response and change that’s going to be lasting and making impact, start with “so what.” Why does this even matter? Why is this even a big deal? I think to help the people come to a point throughout the message to where they’re asking the question and answering it.

Scotty Gibbons 4:48
“So, what if I do this? And so, what if I don’t?” As they’re processing, if you’re presenting something in a way to where you’re showing them, “if you will do this truth, this will happen. If you don’t do this truth, this will happen.” Kind of let that just hang there for a minute. As you’re presenting, let them come to grips with, “Man, there’s something on the line here to where if I do this or if I don’t that.”

Scotty Gibbons 5:13
So, if we will do that, I believe that people instead of just asking the question like, “Am I going to tithe?” Instead, they’re now on the “so what” answering, “Am I willing to live with what happens if I do tithe and what happens if I don’t tithe?”

Scotty Gibbons 5:28
Another example, when it comes to speaking on the armor of God, “If I put on the armor of God, what happens. If I don’t? What happens?” When it comes to forgiveness. “If I forgive, this happens. If I live with unforgiveness, this happens.” So, answering that question, “So what” and allowing people to get to that point of saying, “Man, something’s on the line. I’ve got to take this seriously.”

Have you ever sat down to write your message for the weekend and realized you don’t know where to start? Take a look at the Sermon Starters PDF for a multitude of effective strategies to get you started.

Scotty Gibbons 5:49
Then the second thing would be, “Now what?” For all have a passion and zeal we may bring with the, “So what,” when we were trying to be as inspirational and as persuasive as we can be on the urgency. When we say, “No, you’ve got to see why this is important.” Sometimes when we get to the, “Now what?” that’s where we fumble.

Scotty Gibbons 6:07
Sometimes, we can be so effective at rallying, just the emotion of like, “We’re going to be history makers, or we’re going to turn the world upside down. We’re going to change the globe, something like that people are like, “Yes.” Then they get in the car, they’re say, “Exactly what do I do as a history maker? I’m just worried about what’s for lunch. My next step is to go to the grocery store.”

Scotty Gibbons 6:35
Whereas, as it relates to the truth that we’re trying to move people to really embrace and do something with, help them with that very simple next step on, “Now what?” So, where do I go from here?

Scotty Gibbons 6:49
So, think in terms of if we’re going to speak on the power of worship, then let’s just take a few minutes at the end of the of the message, just to say, “So here’s what we’re going to do with this. We’re going to worship the Lord right now. And as we do, stop thinking about your problems and replace it with God’s promises, as we sing this song. That’s the next step.

Scotty Gibbons 7:10
If we’re speaking on the importance of getting involved or making a difference, man shame on us, if we say, “Here’s what the Word says, and we feel like you ought to do it,” but we don’t have a chance for them to sign up. When that happens, we lose. If I’m going to speak on missions and we get down to the end, let’s give them a chance to step out into give or to sign up to go.

Want your sermons to get better every single week? Check out It Takes a Team to learn about 4 teams you can build or involve in your sermons.

Scotty Gibbons 7:31
So, we need to be thinking in terms of “So what” and “Now what” and kind of putting that on the bottom shelf and making it easily attainable for somebody to take that next step.

Dick Hardy 7:39
Scotty, that is so good. I am so grateful that you’re just talking in such a succinct terms. Give us a wrap up. If there’s one thing you want a pastor to remember out of our conversation today, what is it?

Scotty Gibbons 7:55
I guess maybe I would just pull the thoughts together just to say, when you’re trying to prepare a message that’s going to bring about change, begin with the end in mind. What is it that you’re wanting them to do? Backup from there to a clear next step. From that, get them to the point of just the “so what.” Why that next step is so important?

Scotty Gibbons 8:15
So, just pull those things together in alignment. Move them towards that place of, “You can do something different or do something with what God has spoken to your heart today through this message.”

Dick Hardy 8:25
That is so good. Scotty, thank you very much for taking time to hang out with us. Pastors, I know you have appreciation for this. Certainly, you can click down through the entire transcript of the interview here in this blog. Feel free to take advantage of any of the resources Leaders.Church has. And I say a big thanks to Scotty for giving of yourself today.

Scotty Gibbons 8:47
Thanks for having me.

Dick Hardy 8:47
It really has been good to be with you. Thanks so much, friends. Make it a great one today and be blessed.

Check out these blogs on preaching, as well.

It Takes a Team to Create Sermons
Why Should You Ask for Help with Preaching?
How to Preach Online and In Person
The Top 5 Preaching Questions Asked
Sermon Illustrations: Finding the “Just Right One”
Emotionally Healthy Preaching
Doug Clay on Preaching Sermons Online
Practical Tips on How To Do Sermon Prep
5 Ways to Get That Sermon Started
Fighting the “Last Minute” Fatigue
The 3 Parts of an Altar Call
2 Preaching Lessons Learned from COVID-19


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