Behind The Music : Teaching [Todd]

Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Teaching at Next Level is a collaborative process and one that is planned way in advance.

The Creative Team (Harrison, Jared, Will, Robbie, and I) meet weekly to tear apart the previous week's service detail by detail, to make sure all systems are go for the upcoming week, and to plan the series themes at least six months in advance. So I know what I am going to be teaching about way ahead of time and have time to study, pray, think, write (I fill up dozens of legal pads a year, sometimes one every two days) and just let ideas marinate.

All day Wednesday and Thursday morning I work from home studying and preparing the message. Wednesday is spent digging into the Scripture considering it in light of the original languages (Hebrew and Greek), context, meaning, and application. The goal is to answer these two questions: What did the text say to the original readers? What does the text say to us today?

I use an old trick a professor taught me. While I am sitting at my desk I imagine that I am surrounded by a cross-section of people to whom I'll be speaking on Sunday morning. From time to time, I'll look up and "ask" one of them - "What questions do you have about this topic?" "How can I make this real to you?".

Thursday morning is spent crafting the outline and formulating the one Big Idea. Our goal is that the main point of every NLC message can be boiled down to a sharp, focused sentence. The best ones can be; the lesser ones have multiple points or an unfocused Big Idea.

And the best ones have illustrations that bring the Scripture to life. My sources for illustrations come mostly from pop culture and reading. I don't watch a lot of TV, but I do subscribe to Entertainment Weekly to stay up. I also read a lot of newspapers and magazines and blogs and tons of books - usually a couple a week. I am always hunting for illustrations!

I actually write a one page outline on Friday morning and then let it sit there. The slides that you see on Sunday morning are due in Friday morning so I can't make changes after that point without inconveniencing someone else.

Saturday, I take the one page outline with me wherever I go and glance at it whenever I can. Saturday night I look the whole thing over in detail and then send the final notes to the guys who will be running things in the production booth on Sunday morning.

I am up WAY early on Sunday morning going over and over the Scripture and notes...and then get to the Campus about half an hour ahead of time, alert and caffeinated!

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