Duarte – The Secret Structure of Great Talks

Duarte – The Secret Structure of Great Talks is a good listen for all preachers.

http://www.ted.com/talks/nancy_duarte_the_secret_structure_of_great_talks

This is Nancy Duarte’s TEDS speech (18 minutes) about Great Talks. Although there is nothing really “Christian” about this video, it has made a big impact on me. While I watch this video I realized that a lot of the things she is saying is just good preaching. It parallels biblical preaching, i.e. present the need (sinner is under the condemnation of God), present the end result (sinner saved, living in Christ), and then present the bridge between the two, i.e. how do we get from the first point to the conclusion. Excellent speech!

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When “Church” Doesn’t Work

In our previous post, Remaking “Church”, I refuted this movement as being wrong. But what about when your “church” doesn’t work? What do you do? In this post I will look at some tips on dealing with a disfunctioning church.

Church works, when done God’s way.

The first thing that you have to recognize is that “church” as God defines it works. It has the power and authority of God behind, so if it “didn’t work”, then God would make it work divinely with his omnipotent power. But it does work. It works because God has used his divine and endless wisdom in designing it, and therefore it works because God is God. When we believe in God’s wisdom, and we accept it whether we understand it or not, then things can be set in order. Note that “order” means structured correctly. The idea of remaking the church has as its premise that either God has not given us any definite structure, or that structure is non-functioning and can be replaced with something else. These concepts strike at the authority of God, and at the perfectness of God. Let me emphasize this point again. Church works when done GOD’S WAY. Why churches have problems today is because they are not “doing church” according to Scripture. This is at the heart of church failures. Let me hasten to add that being “old fashioned” is not a failure. Many people insist that their religion and their church must conform to their thinking, and they reject anything except the Burger King philosophy, “Have it your way”. If they cannot get things “their way”, then they reject it as a failure. This is invalid. Salvation is only by God’s terms, and we do not define how or what or why, or anything else in salvation nor our Christian life. In true Christianity, we must submit, not invent. We must submit to what God has already said (in eternity past, so novelty is not going to get that). Trying to make God’s word and work into a “new, modern thing” isn’t going to work, because God has no interest in us (nor his work) being a modern novelty. Fashions and fads are not biblical. The biblical attitude is to be like the Bible says, and this means conforming to the old standards, not manufacturing new standards. The old methods worked and still work, and those are the things that we need to focus on. God’s methods and doctrines are not up for debate. To give in on a single minor thing that God has clearly declared is to misunderstand the authority of God, and to be confused on our situation before God. We are not partners with God in the design and method creation of His work, but rather we are under His instructions, and have to accept and do what He has commanded. God is God, and we are not gods. God by divine right has the authority and right to command because He created. We are creatures, his creatures, and we have to obey. Confusion on our position and relationship with God has caused this modern movement to gain strength over the years.

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Presentations: Actual Storyboarding & Software

In “the olden days” a storyboard was made on 4×6 note cards, drawn in pencil, and arranged freely. This is still a valid method of doing things, although I am getting the impression that with each new generation, these people physically cannot pick up a pencil and write on paper. That “art” apparently has gone the way of the dinosaur. So I will suggest some storyboarding software for the modern generation. But before I do, please take the time to read how we do this with paper and pencil. It is important, and you will get the essentials here, before you go to software.

First thing, you are “brainstorming” here, taking what you have, getting ideas, trying to get some kind of direction (end goal, objective) in sight, and also getting some flow (select elements and put them in order).

The absolutely essential element in your brainstorming is that the means of doing this must be flexible where you can take two “slides” and insert a new one or ten in at that point, and also take a single slide or slides and move them to another place. You can do this with word processing software, or even with presentation software like PowerPoint which is probably the most well-know and serious presentation software.

Secondly, realize that what is on the paper is not the key. It is a representation of a reality in your head. It is a placeholder at this point. So arrange your presentation, and write down things as much or as little as needed depending on how ideas are flowing. You will go back and review what each slide has, and how to get images or design a slide to present that idea.

Again, flexibility is the key. You want your ideas “on paper” so that once there you can analyze them, change them, amplify them, reduce or delete them, or rearrange them. All of this is the brainstorming and storyboarding part of making a presentation. I don’t like the idea of using a big powerful program like Powerpoint for this. Microsoft has a program called Visio to do this before you start in PowerPoint, so PowerPoint really isn’t designed for this either.

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Presentations: Storyboarding: The Process

I guess I am old as the hills now. Back in the day (around 1977, in Bob Jones University missions classes) we talked about storyboarding for getting our slide presentation together. A few months ago I actually threw away my slide story boarder. Most people don’t even understand what I am talking about. In those days we used to gather 2 inch by 2 inch slides of what we wanted to present, and from that we made a story on a story board. This is a piece of white plastic in a wedge shape stand that has a light bulb under it, and you turned it on, and placed your slides in the rows, and began to arrange them in a story for your presentation. Wow are you old David! I would like a post (“Yea!”) from anybody who remembers or did that in their past!

Today presentations don’t start with existing slides or pictures, but they start with ideas. The flow of ideas is what is essential in a presentation. As you develop your presentation, you add images and concepts and music to the presentation.

So here I go trying to give some tips on storyboarding and using them to design a presentation.

Let me be clear here, a storyboard is an intermediate design step for a presentation. It is a rough, basic idea medium in which you work up ideas and impressions, trying to get specific images and sounds if possible, and from that, you make a presentation in some kind of software that is designed for presentations. The moodboard is not an end in itself, but just a brainstorming tool to help you push, pull, delete, add, create, or try out your ideas to generally see how they look. Keep it that!

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Why listen to a missionary presentation?

As a missionary, what are we doing in making a missionary presentation? Perhaps to answer the question, we need to look at this from the opposite angle, why should people listen to missionary presentations? I came across an interesting post here Why hear a Missionary Presentation? which got me thinking.

I think one of the most biblical reasons I have come across is from

Acts 14:27 And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.  

The presenting of what a missionary does on the mission field is very important. But beyond just important to the missionary because he needs more prayer and money, or important to the church  because they don’t know where their money is going and want information, it is important because God says it is important. Without a clear deep rooted belief that this is necessary AND BIBLICALLY COMMANDED, a missionary will not fulfill God’s purposes and objectives in giving their missionary report.

1. Engage in world missions.

Jesus told His disciples to “Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields” (John 4:35b), and hearing a missionary presentation is one good way to obey that command. (Barbara’s observation)

I think that this is very true. This passage reveals the biblical command for us to “disengage” with our local ministry for a spell, and engage with world missions. This is what the Great Commission is all about, “Go out and teach ALL NATIONS” Mat. 28:19. We cannot get away from this command, and somehow, through the proxy system know as missions, we are to fulfill this part of God’s command as equally as we do locally in our home church where we live.

Prayer

This “engaging” is much more than sending a check or praying a prayer. It is getting involved with the work of missions outside of the United States (or wherever your home country is). This means first of all praying for the work there. Without information on what is being done, how it is going (frustrations, set-backs, and victories) as well as plans, you cannot pray intelligently. The most important part of praying is being accurately and timely informed of prayer needs and answers.

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Ways to “Hook” your audience

This post was provoked from my reading this post on “TEDS talk takeaway: 8 ways to Hook your Audience” by Gavin Mahon.

Great hooks, like McGonigal’s provocative opening statement, get audiences on the edge of their seats and give them a sense of what’s coming. They allow you to win a crowd’s attention right away and give you a legitimate chance to have a lasting impact.

Note that these “hooks” are excellent elements around which to build your presentation.

1. Tell a story.

Well, I messed that one up from the start. It should be “with great enthusiasm, tell AN INTERESTING STORY!”

2. Use Video or Graphics.

Some things are best told, and others are best shown. With the possibility of pictures and videos, use them if the subject matter lends itself to that.

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