There is a mosaic of factors that have contributed to the numerical and spiritual growth at Christ Fellowship. I am convinced that the multisensory teaching style of the pastor-teachers is one of those factors.
Let me give a little history. I became senior pastor of Christ Fellowship in 1996. Initially, the church experienced some growth, but then the growth rate reached a plateau. As the lead pastor-teacher, I was committed to the exposition of Scripture, which I am still convinced carries the highest potency of biblical teaching. Christ Fellowship, however, seemed to stagnate numerically.
Then, along with the other teaching pastors, we began teaching in a multisensory form. We began combining verbal clarity with visual aids and interactive teaching. Initially, our goal for changing methods of teaching had nothing to do with church growth. We only wanted to elevate attention levels, comprehension levels, and retention levels of what we were teaching. Miami-Dade is the second most unchurched county in America, and consequently grabbing attention and being clear are nonnegotiable.
We immediately began to see the effects on grabbing people’s attention and increasing comprehension and retention. But the surprise factor that never crossed our mind was the church growth factor. Shortly after combining exposition with multisensory communication, we began to experience substantial church growth. This year, Christ Fellowship is listed number eighty-one among the hundred fastest growing churches in America. We are also listed in the top one hundred baptisms in our denomination.
Among the montage of strategies and blessings that have contributed to the growth at Christ Fellowship, three stand out. First, we remained loyal to Bible exposition. Second, we became simpler in our discipleship process (see Simple Church by Eric Geiger). Finally, we embraced the multisensory method of teaching the Scriptures to our people. I am persuaded that these three dynamics are greatly responsible for the blessings of God at Christ Fellowship.
Rick Blackwood, The Power of Multi-Sensory Preaching and Teaching (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 2008), 33–34.
Resources to help you be more multi-sensory:
Teachers: check out my video preview of the Bible Studies for Life Sunday School Lessons at http://www.sundayschooluniversity.com/
Preachers: check out my new website http://stickysermon.com/ It is a work in progress, but here is what you can expect to find. Each sermon will include:
- A PowerPoint—most of them with embedded videos that make the point stick
- A 15 minute coaching video where I talk to you the preacher about what I have in mind for the message, and go over any visual aids I might use.
- A Good Question Bible Study Lesson to be used by your small groups to further reinforce the message. The same power that was at work in the Purpose Driven Life Campaign will be at work in each week’s message.