Communicating For A Change

Seven Keys to Irresistible Communication

Christian - Living
208 Pages
Reviewed on 03/11/2009
Buy on Amazon

    Book Review

Reviewed by Anne Boling for Readers' Favorite

Communicating For A Change should be required reading for all pastors, evangelists, and lay speakers. Andy Stanley and Lane Jones begin their book with a story about Willy Graham and Pastor Ray Martin. The story will bring smiles and understanding to the readers.

Willy is a truck driver/evangelist. He teaches Ray, a seasoned pastor, the “seven concepts that will empower you to engage and impact your audience in a way that leaves them wanting more.”

The second half of the book is a more in depth discussion of the seven concepts. Communicating For A Change will excite and ignite the speaker in a way that will empower their listeners. I can hardly wait to put these concepts into action. Recently, I taught a segment of a lay speaking class. I wish I had already read this book. I will be introducing it next class and recommending it to all the participants. Rush to get your copy today.

Kelly K. Dunn

I feel compelled to warn fellow Christian Communicators. This book may make you angry. It just might inspire you to change the way you communicate the life-change message of hope.

I suppose whether you are angered or inspired depends upon what your goal is. Is your goal to teach the Bible to people? Or, is it your goal to see people changed as they apply the life-changing message of the Bible?

If you are comfortable with people telling you "Nice message..." as they leave; If you really don't want to disturb those who sit under your preaching/teaching; If you are satisfied with merely reading your three points to your people and expect that they'll "get it" because it is a sermon then you might want to take a pass on this book.

However, If you are like me and have a burning desire to see people CHANGED having heard the crucial message you want to give them then you will want to read this book (several times) with a legal pad and pen!

I can hear my seminary preaching professor even now in my mind, "This is against all convention!" That would be a correct assessment to be sure.

I'll confess the title caught my interest so I picked up the book. Once I started reading this book I literally could NOT put it down. Please know that I have read many books on the art and science of preparing, and delivering sermons. I have had several preaching classes in seminary, but NONE of them challenged me to make ONE point! Andy Stanley did... give him a fair hearing. I know this: I will never communicate Biblical truth the same way ever again! As Stanley correctly states, there is so much that is at stake!

Darryl Dash

Anyone who has heard Andy Stanley preach knows that he is an effective communicator. Now, Stanley and coauthor Lane Jones let us in on the secrets of effective preaching in Communicating for Change.

The first half of the book is a fable about a discouraged preacher, Pastor Ray Martin, who is desperate for help. He meets with an acquaintance, a successful businessman, who flies him by helicopter to meet Will Graham, a truck driver who has just the answers that Ray needs. By the time Ray leaves, he has a new approach and new hope for his preaching.

The second half of the book explains this model of preaching, covering topics like the goal of preaching, how to outline the message relationally, and how to engage the audience.

The model offered by Stanley and Lane has two main strengths. First, it centers preaching around one central idea, taken from the text. This is more effective than other approaches, which fail to capture the central idea of the text. In trying to communicate everything, they communicate nothing. Haddon Robinson and others have also written on the importance of the big idea in preaching.

Second, Stanley and Lane also present a relational outline approach to preaching. Their outlines are built around "the communicator's relationship with the audience rather than content." They remind us that "the way we organize material on paper is very different from how we process information in a conversation." This relational approach can lead to better communication of the Biblical idea of a passage.

The book is not without its problems. The leadership fable, in which an unlikely hero rescues a hapless practitioner, may be an overused approach. Also, this book is not a homiletics text, and preachers would be wise to look beyond this book for a full understanding of the task of preaching.

Stanley and Lane argue that the purpose of preaching is to "teach people how to live a life that reflects the values, principles, and truths of the Bible." They imply, however that this can happen by giving people application points. I am not so sure that application points always lead to life change; they can instead lead to application fatigue and moralism if the preacher is not careful. Preachers will want to wrestle with the larger issue of how people grow into spiritual maturity.

Communicating for Change reminds us of the importance of engaging interest, communicating a single big idea, and honoring relational dynamics in our preaching. It may be what discouraged preachers need as they work to improve their preaching.

Edward Hudgins

I never thought I would be so excited about a book on communication, but I am VERY excited about this one. Stanley shares with the reader his philosophy of communication as well as specific and practical steps to becoming a more effective speaker. This approach may not be for everyone, but it is "home" for me. I have used his approach for the last couple of weeks and my audience is much more engaged and I have gotten very positive feedback from numerous people.

Anthony R. Russell

This book teaches us all the things we wish they had taught us in seminary! Once again, Andy shows us how to get more accomplished by doing less. I still don't know how he memorizes it all, but I am now using the me-we-God-you-we approach w/ great feedback.

Anthony C. Papadakis

Love what the author had to say in terms of a one point message, make it sticky, know where you're going and how you're going to get there. These are amazingly good suggestions that I was able to quickly incorporate into my own teaching to make the lessons more memorable and have greater impact. The author's presentation in the first half of the book is outstanding.

However, read this book critically. A constant "Me-We-God-You-We" approach every Sunday is tedious for a congregation. It leads a speaker to always speak topically rather than exegetically. Although this approach is ideal for people who have no Biblical background (seeker friendly churches), it has the unfortunate side-effect of keeping them that way.

Don't get me wrong; I fully enjoyed this book and took many great insights out of it. I just can't in good conscience implement it for every message/lesson.

Working mom

I am in higher education and have to speak regularly to adults on various topics. This book is wonderful for any communicator. I am able to develop a one topic presentation and then present it without constantly reading my notes. This is great for anyone wanting to improve their public speaking skills.

Edward Harding

A fantastic tool for a preaching roadmap. Often preachers tour many interesting sites "along the way" as they deliver the sermon. Communicating for Change help the preacher prepare a roadmap with a definate destination. "Everything" in the sermon points to the intended destination.

C. Groeschel

This is the best book I've read on communication. I'd love to list some quotes, but every time I buy another copy, I give it away. I'm requiring every communicator I work with to read this book. Although it is a "must read" for pastors, it will also speak to communicators in any field. Thanks Andy and Lane!

Mobile Malcolm

I am currently in my second year at Vineyard Leadership Institute [...] and in my preaching mentoring/ class we are reading this book. IT IS AWESOME!

Although this book is stretching me... it is a good stretch. Andy does a great job of laying this out for everyone to understand. If you are concerned with public speaking... teaching... preaching... there is a "new way" that makes a ton of sense in today's fast paced world.

The thought of a one-point sermon has been a stretch... but to see how he builds and delievers the sermon through relationship and meeting the audiences "felt-need" is brilliant. This is the way I have always wanted to learn how to communicate, but never had a practical way of showing me how to do it.

If you want to reach those you have never reached before with your preaching/ teaching... then read this book. You will never be the same again.

Chad Logan

Every communicator, teacher, or preacher wants to better effectively communicate, especially when dealing with issues that affect our daily lives and eternity i.e leading others into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. I am ashamed that many preachers have succesfully communicated a boring gospel in the churches all over the globe. Many un-churched are looking for reasons not to go to church who may give church one chance; in that very moment, ministers should prepare themselves to create an irresistable environment that will promote life change in the hearts of hearers in a relevant and insightful way. Andy Stanley and Lane Jones brilliantly share strategies that are Biblically sound and practically effective to create such an environment of life change in a revolutionary style of Biblical communication. It's no wonder people flock to hear Andy speak week after week. I certainly would if I lived in Alpharetta!