In this episode of The Church Planting Podcast, Albert Tate and Greg talk about how to tell the greatest story ever told in a way that inspires people and brings them closer to Jesus.
Albert is the founding pastor of Fellowship Church—one of the fastest–growing multiethnic churches in the United States. He began in ministry pastoring just a few families at Sweet Home Church in Mississippi before serving the historic Lake Avenue Church in Pasadena, California. Hearing the call from God to plant a church, Albert and his wife, LaRosa, launchedFellowship Monrovia in January 2012. In its short history, this gospel–centered, multiethnic, intergenerational church has already established a solid foothold in the region for life transformation to the glory and honor of Christ.
As a dynamic communicator, Albert is passionate about sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ both to the local church and the global community. Blending the power of storytelling with a good sense of humor, Albert enjoys illustrating God’s amazing grace and love in church, academic, and conference settings.
Albert and LaRosa have four beautiful children. Albert serves on the Board of Trustees at Azusa Pacific University,the Museum for the Bible in Washington, D.C.and Global Church Planting Organization, Stadia. He was recently published in Letters to a Birmingham Jail: A Response to the Words and Dreams of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.and in 2018 launched the Albert Tate Podcast.
Communication as a Success Factor
- Whether it be social media, face-to-face, or preaching from stage — communication is how people become aware of and perceive a new church.
- You must communicate in a way that gathers large numbers of people who want to listen, like Jesus did with the 5,000 (feed the belly and the soul).
- You must communicate God’s truth accurately in a compelling way that inspires people to greater levels of trust and obedience to God.
- Effective communicators use humor, story, and metaphors to create curiosity and inspire action, just like Jesus did – and they do it in away that is compelling to people at every stage in their spiritual journey.
The Importance of Communicating God’s Truth in an Inspiring Way as you Plant
Homiletics and hermeneutics matter – the foundation matters. But the ability to make it inspiring and applicable matters, too! The application is the most strategic part – if it’s all dialed in but the presentation is not beautiful and inspiring, you’ve missed an opportunity.
We have the greatest story ever told – we’ve got to deliver it beautifully, inspiringly, and stop just presenting tired, garbage-can-lid sermons on Sunday mornings because you’ve got all of the technique worked out, but you didn’t add any flavor.
Finding Time to Craft Inspiring Teaching
The most important thing you’ll do all week is tell the Gospel story. You can hire people to do the other jobs at church, but you’re the only one who will be telling that story. Make it a priority.
You probably need at least 15-17 hours of prep (study, writing, practicing, thinking through applications and illustrations, etc.)
This is the most compelling story ever. Shame on you if you make it boring.
How Creativity Germinates
Preaching is artistry, not just science. You are a storyteller. Can you exegete atmosphere? Can you read a room? Bring sermonic eyes to everything in culture, and connect the dots while you read Scripture. The word of God is rich and profitable – look to create tension and dynamics and to build energy, even in a “common” text.
Paying the Dues
Learn to be faithful over a few. God detoxes us from finding worth in numbers so that 4,000 or 5,000 people don’t define us anymore than 14 people do. Your worth is in God’s presence alone.
Log the hours anywhere you can. Bring 100% to whatever you do. Treat 5 minutes speaking in your kids’ class like it’s the biggest platform ever. The word of God deserves that, and the fruit is exponential.
Once I get the big idea, I start with the end in mind. I want to hi-jack the lunch table – to make it impossible for people not to refer back to the sermon at lunch. So I ask, “Lord, what do you want to say to your people at the end?” and work backwards from there.
Inspiration vs. Entertainment
The only thing God promises to bless is His word. Don’t OVER-value your illustrations.
Hi-jacking lunch isn’t about Albert, but about Jesus. Illustrations are a conduit to experiencing the power of Jesus.
We aren’t motivational speakers. We are preachers of the word of God.
Use of Humor
Pray for God to help you be funny, because laughter has power! Bodies open up when they laugh – get people open, and then punch them with the Word of God.
G – Listen to comedy routines – learning timing is vital in communication!
The intangibles matter- energy, timing, delivery.
Tension & Release
Every good movie has a rise in action and a fall in action.
Why do we care that Matlock wins every time? We don’t watch to see IF he’s going to win. We watch to see HOW He’s going to do it this time. People should sit with tiptoe anticipation wondering, “HOW is Jesus going to win this time?”
Use of Personal Illustrations
- Effective, but needs to be balanced. Don’t talk too much about yourself.
- Complement text, don’t eclipse it.
- Be vulnerable- use illustrations where you aren’t the hero, where you did the wrong thing or missed the mark. Bring pastors off of the pedestal!
- (G) Always build spouse up in front of the congregation. And don’t ever embarrass your children in front of the congregation. Ask permission in advance. (A) You have to be able to go home in peace!
This is the only thing that only you can do in this season of the ministry. Give yourself to it. Create space for it. Delegate other opportunities so you can do the due diligence of doing the hard work of declaring the Gospel in an inspiring way. It will transform lives. Don’t take it lightly. Lean into creativity and innovation. Listen to other people to learn. Create an experience in the space they can’t get online.