Every Thursday you can find me teaching to my 2001 Neon in my garage. This is how I sharpen my communication skills and pursue excellence.
I put on my microphone. I open up GarageBand and hit record.
I then upload the teaching to our web server and then I email the link to several of our leaders for them to listen at their leisure and send me their feedback.
I refuse to get up on a Sunday morning and give the people my first pass at the teaching. Rarely has my first pass been my best pass so why would I want to give that to God and to the people He’s called me to?
There are many who might read this and ask if this is even necessary? I believe so for the following reasons.
First, I’m still learning my art. Those who have been communicating for a lot longer than I have probably don’t need to rely on a “run through” of their teaching.
Second, excellence is a habit. I love Aristotle’s defining of excellence being what we repeatedly do. I want to be an excellent communicator, so I am creating the habits now to put me on this path of improvement. I hope to keep this habit when I am leagues ahead in my skill than right now.
Third, God deserves my best. I don’t need to elaborate this but I do want to mention the drive to be our best for God is our response to what He has done for us.
Fourth, I set the bar for the people I lead. The effort I put into leading and developing myself sets an example for those in our church. I learned a long time ago that you can teach what you know but you reproduce who you are.
Fifth, it gives me an opportunity to receive feedback which has several benefits. Asking for honest feedback by asking “what doesn’t fit? (It doesn’t need to be mentioned)” and “what needs to be more clear?” makes the teaching better on Sunday. Opening my teaching up for feedback also keeps me humble and remembering that I never arrive. Right now that is easy because I know I’m not as strong of a communicator as will be by continuing this process. One more advantage to opening up your teaching for feedback is those who give the feedback improve as communicators as they develop their skill.
After I record this teaching, I listen to it too and am able to improve the pace, tone, content and make the total delivery have a better chance of hitting home on the weekend.
This practice is crucial for me as a church planter. Sundays get hectic. Set can be rough with people not showing up or equipment not operating. Or we might have a weekend where the hall we rent on Sundays has an event the night before and they decide not to clean it until Sunday morning. These days are always a scramble.
My run-through on Thursday becomes a life saver to me. It is hard to go from problem solver to counselor to motivator to repair man to computer fixer to then teaching.
I prepare like it depends on me but during the week, especially on Sunday, I pray knowing it depends on God.
Soon, I will post the weekly teaching prep schedule that gives me the margin to put more than one evening of prep the night before.