by Greg Surratt
I didn’t always want to be a pastor. In fact, when I was a teenager (this was right after Noah got off the Ark) I wanted to be a rock star. Somewhere along the line, I realized that even though I wasn’t the best singer, people listened to what I had to say. I wasn’t sure why people listen to me—I’m still not sure, to be honest! But I believe that being able to connect with my audience is the most important thing that I do. Whether that means from a stage on Sundays, in the foyer after the service ends, or during the week when someone greets me in Starbucks, it’s all about connecting.
So, how does connecting with people translate into engaging presentation? There are plenty of different ways to look at it, and there are probably a lot of people who will disagree with me—and that’s okay! For me, engaging presentation is about meeting people where they are. Seacoast is about introducing lost, un-churched people to Jesus and if I am going to be able to do that, I need to connect with them from the beginning.
Personally, I like to begin my messages with something called the You/Me, which I adapted from the Andy Stanley model. In the You/Me, I take the weekend’s topic and I find a point of connection. For example, on a recent weekend, I spoke about the afterlife—it was one of the most powerful weekends Seacoast has had in quite a while. My You/Me was this: I asked people, “Have you ever laid awake at night and wondered, ‘What really happens when you die?’” When people hear that, there is an immediate connection: of course we’ve wondered about that! Asking questions like that draws people in and it helps me to make a connection with my audience.
My goal when I speak is to meet people where they are. There are plenty of ways to do this, but the You/Me has been especially helpful to me. What about you? What are your goals in trying to speak effectively? What are some steps you can take to engage your audience better, to connect with them? Jesus always met people wherever they were and I believe that we as leaders should seek to do the same.
Greg is the founding pastor of Seacoast Church, one of the early adopters of the multi-site model. Located in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, Seacoast has been recognized by various media as an innovative and influential thought leader in future strategies for church growth and development. Seacoast combines a unique approach to highly participatory worship with a heart for missional evangelism. Greg calls their weekends a “practical, spirit filled, but non-spooky, yet kind of mystical worship experience, done in multiple locations, very inexpensively.” Seacoast currently has 34 weekend worship experiences in 14 separate locations.
Greg is also a founding board member of the Association of Related Churches (ARC), a church planting network that has given birth to 200 churches in the last 9 years. Greg is married to a very hip grandma, has 4 children, 9 grandchildren and enjoys reading, photography, fishing, golfing and rooting for lost causes—specifically the Cubs, Broncos and Gamecocks.
Greg is eagerly awaiting next week’s release of his upcoming book, Ir-Rev-Rend, on September 28: https://www.gregsurratt.org/2011/08/31/preview-chapter-from-ir-rev-rend-christianity-without-the-pretense-faith-without-the-facade/