Catchy sermon titles?

Should we work at crafting catchy sermon titles?

Well, according to my friend Steven Lee, President of SermonAudio.com, the best way to increase sermon downloads is to improve sermon titles.

We may not like it, but that’s reality.

Unless you think it’s extra holy to minimize the number of your listeners, you are probably asking: “So, how do I do it?”

In many ways it’s like writing headlines. That’s why Matt Thompson’s 10 questions to help you write better headlines is so useful. Here’s a summary checklist:

  1. Is the headline accurate?
  2. Does it work out of context?
  3. How compelling a promise does it make?
  4. How easy is it to parse?
  5. Could it benefit from a number?
  6. Are all the words necessary?
  7. Does it obey the Proper Noun Rule?
  8. Would it work better as an explanatory headline?
  9. Does it focus on events or implications?
  10. Could it benefit from one of these 10 words? Top, Why, How, Will, New, Secret, Future, Your, Best, Worst.

And you can read the Matt’s exposition of each question here.


Gentle Reformation

I’ve been really enjoying reading a (relatively) new blog, Gentle Reformation. It’s description:

Gentle Reformation is a cooperative effort by friends in the R&P faith (Reformed and Presbyterian) to speak the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ in its many applications through the media of the internet.  Our blog is intentionally styled:

  • to be persuasive rather than polemical (seeking to avoid the condescending pride that is, sadly, too often seen in R&P circles among those who, of all people, should be able knowledgeably to  say “by the grace of God I am what I am”);
  • to speak in a tone that is pastoral rather than pejorative (though Biblical faithfulness demands that we cry “Wolf!” on occasion (see Matthew 7:15; Acts 20:29-31), we will be sure to do it only when warranted and not so often that we start sounding like that proverbial boy);
  • and to consider the people in the pews rather than professors and pastors as our primary audience (though many of us, being such ourselves, love pastors and professors and invite them to read along!).

I’m especially grateful for the “popular” focus and even more grateful for being permitted to tag along!


Proclamation Trust Resources

Go here and click on the image of the brochure to bring up a nicely produced flash version of the latest resource guide from Proclamation Trust. Underneath the flash version is a link to a pdf version as well. You can also get lots of daily help with your preaching by subscribing to their blog.


Technology Q&A with Tim Challies

Tim Challies answers the most asked technology questions for Christianity.com.

How can we fight against information overload?

How should Christians react to new technologies and online social media?

How do online distractions keep us from crucial things?

How does technology change the way we worship in church?


How to lose friends and not influence anyone

Marshall Goldsmith is a world-famous executive coach. His main emphasis is that “after you put the technical aspects of business aside, everything else is about people.” He has identified 20 behaviors that will ensure that you lose friends and influence no one. And they are not just true in business but in church and family life too.

1. Winning too much: The need to win at all costs and in all situations. 

2. Adding too much value: The overwhelming desire to add our 2 cents to every discussion. 

3. Passing judgment: The need to rate others and impose our standards on them. 

4. Making destructive comments: The needless sarcasm and cutting remarks that we think make us witty. 

5. Starting with NO, BUT, HOWEVER: The overuse of these negative qualifiers, which secretly say to everyone that I’m right and you’re wrong. 

6. Telling the world how smart we are: The need to show people we’re smarter than they think we are. 

7. Speaking when angry: Using emotional volatility as a management tool. 

8. Negativity, or “Let me explain why that won’t work”: The need to share our negative thoughts even when we weren’t asked. 

9. Withholding information: The refusal to share information in order to maintain an advantage over others. 

10. Failing to give proper recognition: The inability to give praise and reward. 

11. Claiming credit that that we don’t deserve: The most annoying way to overestimate our contributions to any success. 

12. Making excuses: The need to reposition our annoying behavior as a permanent fixture so people excuse us for it. 

13. Clinging to the past: The need to deflect blame away from ourselves and onto events and people from our past; a subset of blaming everyone else. 

14. Playing favorites: Failing to see that we are treating someone unfairly. 

15. Refusing to express regret: The inability to take responsibility for our actions, admit we’re wrong, or recognize how our actions affect others. 

16. Not listening: The most passive-aggressive form of disrespect for colleagues. 

17. Failing to express gratitude: The most basic form of bad manners. 

18. Punishing the messenger: The misguided need to attack the innocent who are usually only trying to help us. 

19. Passing the buck: The need to blame everyone but ourselves. 

20. An excessive need to be “me:” Exalting our faults as virtues simply because they’re who we are.

Goldsmith then gives four ways to start winning friends, influencing everyone and achieving breakthrough measurable results. Click here to read how.