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What Great Coaches and Preachers Know (part one)

How to use positive and negative sermon elements with purpose.

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Be sure to read the rest of this four-part series:
Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four

I was coaching gymnasts at a local club for a few hours a week. As I took beginners from basic skills like hip circles on the high bar to more difficult tricks like giants, I repeatedly faced a decision intrinsic to the art of coaching: when to say what the gymnast was doing right and when to say what he was doing wrong.

Both were necessary. I couldn't help a beginner on high bar by ignoring that he was about to swing forward with his hands in an undergrip position—he would peel in the front and fall on his head. "Don't ever do that!" I warned. "You'll break your neck."

But my ultimate goal was not just to avoid injury; I wanted these boys to become excellent gymnasts someday. So I encouraged them as they developed the fundamentals: "Good stretch. That's the way to hollow your chest. Nice scoop in the front."

Preachers face the same decision weekly. One of our most important decisions when crafting a ...

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