Focussed on inspiring and encouraging.  Laurence is bored of going to conferences and hearing people of his age speaking.  If there is not a new generation coming through then we have a big problem.

Completely believe in the power of the peer – and one of the reasons the 18-30s are disappearing is that all speakers are well over the other side of 40 and so it gives the impression that they are not welcome.  This is hugely sad, especially given the large amount of resource that has been put into these young people.

God often works in a generational way – a generation normally impacts their own age by +5/-5 years.

Preaching and teaching has three dynamics:

  • Content
  • Communication
  • Anointing

Content and communication can both be worked and the skills learned and developed.  The whole area of anointing is more indirect and is the fruit of our character.

Equally we have all heard speakers that had great content but the communication was slow, poor and did not work.

Preaching is where you are looking for a decision – you want people to respond, not necessarily in terms of salvation.  Teaching is a principle – you have given them an idea for the future.


Devotional content

When God speaks to you in an unexpected way through a Bible verse record it, guard it.  When it speaks to you in a special way, it connects with you in your heart, so they won’t come back, when you speak them, as an intellectual concept but with added power as it comes from the heart.

In addition they also tend to be the verses you live out – you’re not just talking the talk but reality.  Laurence always assumes that a verse that jumps out is something that God will eventually want him to speak on, he gives it at least a year as that allows it shape you more, and therefore the anointing is more powerful.

These verses normally come from a devotional experience, very occasionally we can be impacts as a preacher speaks on a verse.

Scripture itself

You will find content in two ways: exegetical or thematic.  Exegetical is when you read a passage in its own right.  Thinking about who wrote it, when did they write, why did they write it, what did it say to the original listeners/readers, what does it say to us – if anything at all as somethings are locked in culture and time.  Thematic preaching is when you take an idea – still Biblical – but you don’t look at one passage but looking in a number of passages.

40 years ago most preaching was exegetical; today most preaching is thematic – or disguised as thematic – preaching from a verse but they had the idea first and the passage of scripture second.

The strength of thematic preaching is it gives a focus on a need, it deals with the issue that you feel God is saying to that group; but the weakness is you may not cover the whole wisdom of God and it has a negative undertone saying that people need to hear it, e.g. love suggest people aren’t loving, it can be confrontational.

The strength of exegetical preaching is that it helps people to understand the broad view of God, and to understand the particular scripture.  We have a generation today that don’t know the Bible, including ourselves if we’re honest.  Exegetical preaching gives a sense of the Big Story.  People know a bit that has spoken to them, but they don’t have the counsel of God and so they are vulnerable.  It can be non-confrontational if a hot topic comes up in the

There are only 10 themes in the Bible – the Bible is very repetitive so we often see:

  • Love for God
  • Discipleship
  • Integrity
  • Authenticity
  • Love for one another
  • Love for the lost world
  • What is God doing in the world

The needs of people

When younger Laurence ran 16 DTS for YWAM, he noticed that their needs and their problems were quite common.  Most young people are grappling with about nine issues:

  • Family
  • Relationships
  • Self-esteem
  • Identity
  • School
  • Doubt
  • Peer pressure and temptation
  • Living out faith
  • Future

Speaking on any of these issues to any group of young people will make you relevant – it is where they are at.  We know that these are key issues for them, and we know we will be relevant.  Even more so, these issues still hugely resonate with adults.

Understanding the world

The world we live in creates issues that we must address, for example:

  • Injustice
  • Integrity
  • Conflict
  • Morality
  • Sexuality
  • Family
  • Poverty
  • Money
  • Environment

You can get content from devotions, the scripture itself, from the needs of people and from understanding the world you live in.

Good communication

How do you communicate?  What makes good and bad communication?  Tempted when there’s a really bad speaker to wave his hanky and say he surrenders!

Learning has two dynamics: formal and informal.  A formal learning is someone who likes school, essays, enjoys an academic environment, and learn well in that formal environment.  Informal learning may be someone who didn’t do well at school, didn’t go to university, learn by doing and occasional reading.

Good speakers – what made them good, what were the ingredients: passion; stories – both biblical and personal; creative; illustrations; relevance; sensible amount of time; beginning, middle and end; humour; appropriate use of language; use of voice; relational; pace – don’t be too quick and don’t be too slow; have energy; body language; eye contact; honesty.

Bad communication is the opposite, for example, monotone, no beginning, no end, it is confusing.

What is one thing you have learnt in this hour that’s been helpful?

Married to the amazing Sarah and raising Jakey, Daniel, Amelia, Josh & Jonah in our blended family. Passionate for Jesus, social work & sport.

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