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Communicating for a Change: Seven Keys to…

Communicating for a Change: Seven Keys to Irresistible Communication

by Andy Stanley

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Communicating for a Change, a book co-written by Andy Stanley and Ronald Lane Jones, was printed in 2006 by Multnomah Books with the stated purpose written into the title – how to create and present an effective public discourse in such a way as to not only convey information, but also to achieve a goal of change in the audience. Generally, the work is pointed toward the art of homiletics, but the principles detailed may certainly be brought over into the field of motivational public speaking.

Just shy of 200 pages, the book is divided into two primary sections, which makes for a comfortable, engaging, and manageable read.

The first section is presented in a narrative format. The principles of communication are first presented in what Stanley describes as a “fascinating parable” (12) in the Introduction. Putting aside the urge to discuss the nature and function of a parable, the story introduces the material in a format designed to engage and promote retention – which it in fact does very well. One of the points Will the former truck driver makes to Ray is the need for a “map” which helps the audience/congregation follow along with the story. Another point that Ray makes while considering the need to secure a load is the need to “engage the audience” (58). Of course, every person has different methods of retaining and internalizing information, but presenting the information in this format first before entering into a technical discussion certainly helped to create a memorial metal map. Effective and entertaining.

The second section presents the information in a more traditional teaching format. The seven principles identified by Stanley are … well, we’ll let Stanley identify the actual principles, but the information that fleshes out each chapter can easily become indispensable. There are questions to ask of an idea (107), methods of outlining sermons and talks (120, 138), questions to consider regarding the introduction (154), rules to help with engaging the audience (156), and five questions to help with clarity of message (191). Just following and applying these five blocks of information should help to increase communication ability, yet these blocks are only a part of the presentation and surely others would find different parts of the work appealing and applicable. The heart of the theory behind the book is expressed in the introduction where Stanley observes, “I want to take one simple truth and lodge it in the heart of the listener” (12).

Exceptional read for any communicator looking to improve their ability, which any speaker should be attempting both during and in-between speaking engagements. One looks forward to applying the different principles expressed in the book.

Some quotes from the book:

“How can you expect your listener to care enough to remember what you’re saying when you can’t?” (54)

“The way I read it, spiritual maturity is gauged by application not contemplation” (95).

“Once you discover a text of narrative that addresses your great idea, let the Bible speak” (107).

“If you don’t take the time to reorientation your message around the one thing, it will get lost among the other things” (110).

“Presentation trumps information when it comes engaging the audience” (146).

“Err on the side of being too direct when it comes to orienting your audience to the question you are going to answer, the tension you want to resolve, or the mystery you want to help them solve” (164). ( )
  SDCrawford | Mar 11, 2017 |
I am sure Andy Stanley is a fine preacher, but this book is atrocious. The first half of this book is written as a novella about a preacher who can't preach well and then he meets someone who teaches him communication values. Sounds interesting, right; however, it's unoriginal. It is the same premise of "Preaching with Freshness." Second, Stanley writes as if he pioneered "one point" preaching. But really, his book is just a condensed version of Dr. Robinson's "Biblical Preaching." Finally, he says some pretty ridiculous statements in regards to preaching and engaging the audience. For example, "On rare occasions I know the point before I begin my official preparation. Sometimes it emerges from life rather than from the text..." (pg 107). Although he acknowledges that this approach can be dangerous, I think he is foolish to use this approach. Our goal as preachers is to preach the Word of God, not life. And he states this, "When a message does not apply to an unbeliever, I let 'em know that as well...'In fact, today's message may give you another reason to put off becoming a Christian'" (pg 128-29). Really Andy Stanley? Maybe he's joking, but I do not think it's funny.

Maybe I am too harsh, but there are definitely better preaching books. ( )
  erikssonfamily | Sep 23, 2010 |
If you preach and/or teach this will serve you in countless ways. Tons of helpful suggestions and above all a good reminder of what our end game is - changed lives! ( )
  adamtarn | May 2, 2009 |
Good read on preaching. Application based - one point sermon with virtually no notes or pulpit. He does encourage visuals of all kinds. His point is that most people only remember one point anyway - just give them one point. The first third of the book is a story written by Co-Author that takes the reader through the writing process of the journey. Andy then does the teaching with the rest of the book. ( )
  mrdrjohn2 | May 19, 2008 |
North Point, preaching, teaching
  sjmonson | Feb 25, 2008 |
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