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What do people remember?


Quick: what do you remember from last Sunday's sermon?

If you are normal, the answer is: not much. Howard Hendricks says we have the potential of remembering 10% of what we hear, and that is only the potential. Rick Warren says we forget 95% of what we hear after 72 hours.

Rebecca Kennard shared this with me ( www.braintransformations.com.)   

People remember:

10% of what they read.

20% of what they only hear.

30% of what they only see.

50% of what they see and hear.

70% of what they say and write down.

90% of what they DO

But, there is an exception. There are a few sermons I can remember years later. What makes them different?

Such was the case this last weekend. I was privileged to hear John Stanislaw, pastor for FBC Coleman, Tx. I don't remember everything he said, but I remember the message centered around two words: I must.

He quoted time after time where people in the Bible said the phrase. Like when Jesus said, "I must go to Samaria." You know the story--he meat the woman at the well there.

The big idea was about discovering what we must do. There are so many things we could do. A well lived life is focused on what we must do. What must you do?

I can remember this message because Pastor John used what I call the repeated phrase. I discuss the repeated phrase in my book Disciplemaking Teachers. I try to include a repeated phrase as I wrote Good Questions Have Groups Talking.

If you can reduce your message to a repeated phrase, it will tend to stick. People will remember. Rick Warren highlights this point:

As a pastor I hate to admit this, but people don’t remember sermons or speeches—they don’t even remember paragraphs. What people remember are simple statements, slogans, and phrases. I don’t remember any speech John F. Kennedy gave, but I do remember his statements, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” and “I am a Berliner!” Neither do I remember any sermon preached by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., but I do remember his famous phrase, “I have a dream!”

The Purpose Driven- Church: Growth Without Compromising Your Message and Mission (Rick Warren)

What are you teaching on this Sunday?  Try to reduce it to one memorable phrase.


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