Five Components of a Compelling Message

When you begin to develop a message, with the intent you never want them to forget this, there are some essentials that must be included.

One time while baking a cake the sugar was left out, even though all the other ingredients were mixed well, baked well and frosted well, something was missing. Ever listen to a speaker only to discover something was missing? Just like ingredients there are essentials to every great presentation.

Here are my five components to a compelling message:

The Beginning Sentence There are opponents to this method but grabbing your audience at the beginning, especially when left with a question in their mind of how is this going to end, has enormous results. Take for instance, “I will give in this 25 minute message three ways you can change your marriage by the end of the week.” People will be grabbing their notepads, sitting on the edge of their seats and ready to grasp their “life changing” tools. Notice the sentence answers several presuppositions: “How much will it cost?” (I will give you) and “How long will it take?” (25 minute message) and “Can I do it?” (Yes, by the end of the week).

A word of caution is in order: don’t overstate your objectives or content. Understate and over deliver but create enough suspense and punch to pull them into the message.

Interesting Information Some like statistics, others like reading a definition but pulling some facts together with no personality can lose an audience. Rather share intriguing data with personality added, take for instance, a personal story with facts scattered throughout the story line.

“Sara, was kidnapped from a Kmart shopping center parking lot at 11:00 PM on a Saturday evening, after several days of beatings, she became another statistic in the horrid sex trafficking surge. FBI information states currently there are an estimated 293,000 American children at risk of being exploited and trafficked for sex, in the United States alone”

Sprinkles Humor, bold points, quotes and practical applications need to be sprinkled generously but not over done. I usually wake early in the morning and fix breakfast for my wife before she heads off to work. One morning I wasn’t paying particular attention and I must have salted the eggs twice and it made a distasteful difference to the “good” breakfast she usually enjoyed each morning. Too much of anything can distract, disrupt and dismantle a good message or speech. If you are preparing a sermon, add enough flavoring to make it taste good but don’t allow you congregation to taste the seasoning at the expense of the well prepared meat.

Personal Experience Telling others how you came through can add weight to the message. Don’t deviate into personal trivia, don’t embarrass people you love and never exaggerate or boast of your own successes. But do boast on others, be honest and transparent. The pulpit is not a place for super heroes. This is a great spot for humor or for a tear. If you can’t think of a personal story, tell a story of someone else but make sure it highlights your message.

Personal experience should help the hearer personalize the truth. Take for instance this based on a real life story:

                Just last night while riding patrol with our city police we were dispatched to an attempted suicide. The young 17-year-old had barely ingested enough prescription medicine to give him a stomach ache. As the ambulance loaded him, he voluntarily went to the hospital for observation. A young girl, 16 years old, stood trembling in the cool, autumn air, she was crying. “He is my boyfriend, he wanted to die together and I told him, No!”  (I may add more facts here about the city suicide rate, boy/girl relations, and any other details surrounding the story and the message). To finish up, an observation may be inserted, such as, “She had a great life in front of her, young, responsible, healthy, had a job, she was like a swimming pool full or fresh, clear and clean water but he was like the plug at the bottom of the pool, who kept coming loose and draining her. Do you have life draining circumstances?”

A Great End To have a great movie with an ending that was way off base or not completely fulfilling is a disaster. To have a good sermon without a good ending is a disaster. We should plan the end just like we plan the entire message. A great message demands a great response. Having the auditorium rise to their feet, the appropriate song, and a well planned response can be the highlight of the entire message. Too many a speaker has had a tremendous presentation only to drop it at the conclusion. Or, this one, “As I continue to close,” drags out the ending and can thwart your intended purpose.

The ending should include three well planned purposes: The speaker should know where he is ending, know how he is ending and most importantly, should know why he is ending.

Comment: What do you look for in a compelling message or sermon?

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author


Reading IPad Apps for the Holidays

The holiday season is filled with days off work, traveling and possibly, extra time to read. With the popularity of the IPad, Kindle and Nook, more people are reading digital books. Personally, I still like holding a real book in my hands and marking favorite lines and quotes with a highlighter. Yet, I still have nearly fifty ebooks on my IPad that I can pull up while I am waiting on an appointment, flying or taking some down time with a cup of coffee.

The IPad is flexible with several different reading apps, even Kindle and other formats. I particularly like the free books that are introduced within the app, there is no reason not to read, if you own an IPad. Here is a list of some of my favorite reading apps.

ibooks comes with the IPad, simply click on the app, on the upper left hand side select store. Itunes will open in the book section with a large selection of books to choose from. Choose by title or category. If you would like to start with the free books; simply go to the bottom of the page under, Quick Links and select Free Books. There you will find a good cross-section of free books, ranging from children’s books to recipe books; my favorite is 300 Chicken Recipes.

Newstand comes with IPad also, while most of the magazines and newspapers are subscription based; Lowes Creative Ideas is free and The New York Times is free. You might also find other free subscriptions you personally find an interest in.

Free Books is an audible book app boasting of 4,727 audio books for $3.99 each and 23,469 free classical ebooks. Find such classics as Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Socrates. Like most reading apps, you can select the size font you find comfortable and chapter headings are in a drop down box.

Kindle is the most popular reading app and works flawlessly with the Kindle downloads from Amazon or other sites where Kindle ebooks are sold. Amazon occasionally offers free Kindle downloads but you have to search for them. Amazon offers my new book, Highpoints, for the Kindle at for just $3.99.

Logos Bible is my favorite Bible reading app. It offers parallel columns for additional Bible translations and commentaries. You can highlight, share or note the passage. You can select the correct font for your reading comfort and has a unique search feature. You will find the text easily navigated through for your reading pleasure.

Have fun reading this holiday season with your IPad but be sure and carry along  a good paperback too.

Comment: What reading apps do you find useful? Do you have a favorite book you would like to recommend?

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author

Moving from Initiator to Influencer

Instead of being swallowed up in a mass of people with positions – why not be distinctive and matchless. Be a person of influence. The people around you cannot make you, your following cannot create you and your finances cannot construct you. It is essential for a leader to capture the spirit of the people, know their heart and step into the same vision. Finding the needs of people and meeting that need is a high priority. Being able to discover the need and interpret it into a clear vision is quite different.

An initiator is a program master, he develops new and exciting attractions; he creates, causes and collects in a self-imposed mode of action. The Influencer is a man of calling, character and concern; he moves forward in a divine movement of vision. He has established his ministry, his message is merely interpretations of a life well lived, and he loves people.

The influencer lives differently, works differently and ministers differently. He moves slowly, listens carefully and speaks rarely. He takes time to speak to little children; he can look into your eyes and tell you are hurting and he stands out in a crowd.  

Sound like superman? No, he is an influencer. Not impossible, it is reachable. You can move from an imitator to an influencer by beginning these four unique features in their life.

Full of Integrity Stand firm in honesty, transparency and integrity. Guard your intake carefully. Pray often. Live among positive people. Create momentum in your spirit with time off to think, moments of silence and friends who inspire you. Believe in a higher standard. Strive for more. Push up! You cannot take others higher than you are willing to go.

One of the most important ways to manifest integrity is to be loyal to those who are not present. In doing so, we build the trust of those who are present. – Stephen Covey, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Network The word, network, simply means, to work with a net. Stretch your net and your work will grow.Come out of the four walls; don’t be held inside by plaster or mortar. For a leader to keep all his problems or his potential inside becomes a slow-moving train or a derailment. One particular church has asked all eight of its campus pastors to find ten pastors in their zip code that they can bless and help to thrive. That’s growth! It would be amazing to see what a person could do if they decided to reach out beyond themselves, reach out to others and make a community, regional, statewide, national or worldwide difference.

I remember, as a teenager, reading in Literature class, “No man is an island.” It has stuck with me for years. When God created Adam he quickly created Eve. Share your dream with a confidant, express your pain to a mentor or simply, have coffee with a friend.  


Celebration of Others This is huge!Celebrate others the way you want to be celebrated. I recently attended a breakfast where an employee was recognized for nothing. Oh, their life was definitely influential, but it wasn’t their birthday, they weren’t celebrating an anniversary and they weren’t retiring, no, the team just felt they wanted to celebrate her with a surprise party for being who she was.They video-ed each one saying how much she had influenced their life and their work atmosphere. They collected several pictures of her at the work place and honored her in a big way. She wasn’t the boss, didn’t have a title, she was simply a hard worker, had a great attitude, and loved people AND they loved her back. I saw two influencers that day, the owner of the company and the employee who had touched the lives of the people she worked with.


Genuine Concern An influencer shows concern to everyone. Whether through listening, maybe giving, but mostly making the other person know they are vitally important. Making another feel important by remembering their name, writing a personal thank you note, or recognizing them in front of others is to win the heart of people and show an undisputable concern for their feelings and well-being. To ignore the small to grab the big is self-serving but to respect all is an admirable quality of an influencer.


Comment: Can you think of  how someone influenced your life?

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author

Before You Enter Your Storm

In light of the tragic storms of Sandy as she unleashed her rage over the Northeast United States, some of the residents found they couldn’t buy the necessities of life since the electricity was out, debit and credit cards would no longer work.

While we may not plan for every aspect of tragedy, we must have a shelter should “Mayhem” show up unexpectedly. I am an optimistic leader but when the slithering snake of trouble raises its poisonous head I must know where to go and who to turn to.

But what happens when a domestic, financial or spiritual “Sandy” hits our life. Are we ready for the storm?

Prepare for the Worst and Live for the Best Preparation is the plan we make for the moments of life when things get out of control. Find a mentor; preferably an experienced elder; someone who will take the time to honestly expose your weaknesses and acknowledge your strengths. A mentor who prays often with you and for you; is worth their weight in gold. Surround yourself with their counsel, learn from their example and call for advice. When life gets going in circles a mentor can be an invaluable asset to your life. Build a circle of friends around you.

Plan to Protect Your Family Remember your family needs you now more than ever. Express to them how much they mean to you. Have frequent family outings, enjoy each other’s company and have fun. The greatest stress reducer, while you are going through a storm of life, is to be surrounded by your family. Spend time with those who love you.

Grab the Essentials It is amazing to discover the essentials and non-essential when you are in a storm. It is amazing how quickly important items of yesterday’s fortune fade into oblivion with today’s needs. Write down the temporal and the eternal and you will quickly realize the important stuff. Make sure you major on the majors and minor on the minors. Choose your battlefield wisely. Don’t let little things add to a great downfall and keep you from reaching your highpoint.

Keep Calm Controlling your personal emotions may be the most important aspect of endurance. Seek the truth and ignore the trivial. Take a walk, visit with friends, and confide in your wife. Your personal struggles don’t have to be brought into the public arena. Anger doesn’t win battles nor does it please God. Staying in control is your greatest asset. Tim Laurito adds, “You can’t change the storm on the outside, but you can change the storm on the inside!”

Pray Through It All  Fear causes me to react but faith causes me to wait on God. God will do what you cannot do. Cry, let God know how you feel and let Him heal you. When Jesus cries, “Peace, be still,” He calms the storm and your heart.

Comment: What have you done to prepare your heart in case of a sudden tragedy?

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author

Gratitude is a Life Changer

Someone shared this quote from the popular TV show, Duck Dynasty, “One day you are happy, happy, happy and the next day you are crabby, crabby, crabby.” Being thankful can change the elasticity of your spirit.

November is the month of Thanksgiving but thankfulness is a lifestyle not a holiday. Being thankful and letting it flow from your heart is definitely a life changer. We must admit having gratitude in the middle of a struggle is difficult to accomplish but it can be done.

Here is how to change your “crabby, crabby, crabby” into “happy, happy, happy.”

You Have Things All Around You To Be Thankful For You won’t have to go far. Have you ever played “slug bug?” On a long trip my brother and I would preoccupy ourselves with a simply game of “slug bug.” If you see a Volkswagen Beetle you get to “slug’ the person next to you. The game stopped when the person getting “slugged” the most decided it was time to play “I see something red.” It is amazing what you see when you begin to look for it. When you begin to look for something to be thankful, you begin to notice more things you are thankful for.

Here are just a few things you can begin to be thankful for.

  • Life
  • Friends
  • Health
  • Home
  • Food
  • Family
  • Freedom
  • God


Sharing Is The Greatest Way to Show Thanks W. Clement Stone said, If you are really thankful, what do you do? You share. The busiest time for the Salvation Army is during the holidays – share some time serving. Stress is at an all time high from November through December – share some time praying for others. Real needs of food, clothing, and high utility bills are felt by single mothers – share some money with them.  

Remember Who Loves YouWe have friends, both old and new, who have stood with us through the test of time. Call them or write a handwritten note of appreciation. Think of someone who recently went through a hard time physically and listen to their story – healing comes through them talking about it.  

I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and the new – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Give Thanks to God For His BlessingsContentment is destroyed by comparison. Some complain because they don’t have what someone else may have but be thankful for what God has given you. He has blessed you far more than you deserve and given you far more than you really need. Storm Jameson confessed, For what I have received may the Lord make me truly thankful, and more truly for what I have not received.  Start your day be giving thanks for all the blessings you have received in your life – it will change your day, it can change your life.

Comment: What are you most thankful for?

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author