Posted by: everynation | July 20, 2008

Preaching Tips & Brain Rule #4

by Steve Murrell
Another day, another flight. Nashville to Minneapolis to Calgary. I’m now in Minn, waiting.

Sat next to the Marlboro Man on my flight from Nash to Minn. Since all USA flights are non smoking, this guy had a cup of coffee instead of a cigarette.

He kept on sipping his coffee, but for some reason the coffee never ran out. Strange. It seemed that very time he put his mouth to the plastic spout on the coffee cup lid, there was MORE coffee in the cup, not less.

Then i figured it out – he was spitting, not sipping. The Marlboro Man was chewing tobacco. Nashville.

While dodging liquid tobacco, i read an article in the NWA World Traveler magazine called “Our Brains at Work.” Interesting. The article summarized a book by molecular biologist, John Medina, about putting our brains to max use at work.

Medina’s “Brain Rule #4” is pertinent to preachers and speakers. It says, “We don’t pay attention to boring things.” I think we all know that. But his next 4 sub points could help our preaching. Here they are with my comments in bold italics:

1. The brain’s “attention spotlight” can focus on only one thing at a time: no multitasking.
More evidence for the 1 point mssg.

2. We are better at seeing patterns and abstracting the meaning of an event than we are at recording detail.
Since they can get details from a book or online and no one remembers anyway, we need to focus primarily on ministering to the heart not the head.

3. Emotional arousal helps the brain learn.
Preach mssgs and tell stories that evoke emotion and people will pay attention and remember.

4. Audiences check out after 10 minutes, but you can keep grabbing them back by telling narratives or creating events rich in emotion.
This really made me re-think my outlines. I need to re-start every 10 minutes. That explains a lot.

Steve Murrell is a missionary, pastor, and the author of “The Reluctant Leader” and “The Accidental Missionary.”

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