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Should We Preach Like a TED Talk?

Strive to be memorable, but let God and his Word change lives.

Should We Preach Like a TED Talk?
Image: Michael Buckner/Getty Images

TED talks have become quite a phenomenon. There are now thousands of short talks by world experts available on the TED website, and because so many of them are captivating and memorable, people are asking "How can I speak as persuasively as a TED speaker?" More specifically for preachers, we sometimes hear or ask: How can I preach like a TED speaker? Because if you see the tagline for TED talks—"Ideas worth spreading"—as a preacher you might think, We have the best idea worth spreading that there is! And you're right. Then we think of the attractiveness and audience pulling power of a TED speaker, and we begin to dream.

But for preachers, there will always be a prior question: "Should I even try to speak as persuasively as a TED speaker?" Because at the back of our minds is, or should be, Paul's devastating critique of rhetoric in 2 Corinthians, which although it is arguably the most rhetorically sophisticated of his letters, is stinging ...

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August 12, 2014  9:57am

I'm not convinced that the goal of TED Talk speakers is to be impressive! I think they want to be effective, which is what I hope to be when I preach. Good article, good points. I would say I already do half, at least. (Not sure anyone would say I even unleash something "jaw dropping," although to me the gospel always is!) Thanks!

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Wayne McDonald

August 07, 2014  5:19pm

Excellent commentary, highlighting the good of TED talks/methodologies while warning of the easily-abused dangers. Very helpful! Thanks, Chris!

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August 04, 2014  7:46pm

Brother Chris, thanks for your balanced and well-thought out evaluation of the "TALK LIKE TED" article. I do agree with your approach. However, I might add that prayer is an essential part of the preacher's preparation for the Holy Spirit to do His divine and transforming work in the hearts of our listeners. That's one of the most important areas we preachers need to be very diligent and fervent, as was the case in the days of Charles Spurgeon. I am sure you know and practice. You can check my ministry website at Thank you and God bless you and keep up the good work.

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