Practical Skills for Effective Communication
Jimmy Patillo is the Mid-East Regional Director for the International Convention of Faith Ministries and Co-Pastor of New Life Worship Center in Frankfort, Kentucky. Before joining ICFM, Jimmy served his particular denomination in several local, state, and national leadership positions. He has a passion to help people reach their potential and maximize their God-given talents and abilities through spiritual training and personal development. In mentoring and advising pastors, church leaders, managers, and business executives, he has seen the great rewards of mentorship and serving others.
Jimmy is the visionary behind Life Christian University-Kentucky, an accredited Christian university in cooperative fellowship with Life Christian University out of Tampa, Florida (one of the fastest growing Christian universities in America). LCU-KY presently has two campuses (Frankfort, and Lexington), with the vision of having additional campuses across the state. In addition to Jimmy’s vision for the state, he intends for LCU-KY to have a global impact through the distance learning program they have recently launched. The distance program presently has students enrolled from four states.
Jimmy is passionate about the Word of God, which is evident in his dynamic presentation of biblical truths. He senses that God is calling him to write books and commentaries to help develop leaders and give a biblical education to the masses.
Jimmy holds a Masters degree in Theology from Life Christian University-Tampa, and is beginning his doctoral dissertation. He is also completing a Masters degree in Christian Business from Jacksonville Theological Seminary. Jimmy holds an OMMBA from the University at Buffalo, a GRI (Graduate of the Realtor Institute) designation in Real Estate, and 24 certifications in business, management, accounting, and computer applications. He is also a graduate of Moore Norman Technology Center’s accounting program (Oklahoma City Metro) and graduated first in his class. In 2015, He was honored by ICFM as The Regional Director of the Year.
He and his wife, Melissa (the ICFM District Director in Kentucky and the Campus Director for LCU-KY), have been happily married for 23 years.
You’re a great original but a lousy copy. Just relax and be you. There is a place for you. It’s a big ole’ world. Just be the best YOU that you can be! You’re not going to be everybody’s reward. Everybody is not going to like you or think you’re cute. However, I assure you, you WILL be somebody’s reward!
Know Your Audience
Are they new believers or seasoned spiritual leaders? The Scripture distinguishes those in need of milk and not of meat (1 Corinthians 3:2; Hebrews 5:12-14). Strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age (Heb. 5:14). Babes are not able to bear meat (1 Cor. 3:2). Guard against thinking everyone you’re preaching to is on your level of spiritual maturity, they’re not! Guard against feeling you have to prove your biblical prowess. If they don’t get what you’ve tried to tell them, what difference does it make how many degrees you have behind your name? Communication is more than what’s being said, it’s what’s being understood.
Properly Exegete the Text
2 Timothy 2:15 says, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” The phrase rightly dividing is translated from the Greek word orthotomeo which means “to cut straight, to cut straight ways.” As a tentmaker, Paul understood the importance of “cutting it straight.” If he didn’t cut it straight, the pieces wouldn’t fit together properly. If we don’t properly exegete the text, it won’t fit with the rest of Scripture. Therefore, we have an obligation to properly exegete the text. In Matthew chapter four, in the temptation of Jesus, the devil said, “It is written,” but he didn’t “cut it straight.” Proper exegesis provides fuel to launch the rocket. We have to keep the main thing the main thing, and the Word is the main thing! We just need to “rightly divide” it. Too many people are preaching the text but missing the point. It’s not our job to cook the meal, we just have to deliver it without messing it up!
Think of a Sermon as a Toolbox
In a great toolbox, there are many tools. A great sermon may have many tools as well: information, explanation, illustration, application, exhortation, argumentation (I use the term loosely), quotation, celebration, etc… A master carpenter needs more tools than a hammer and a nail, and so does a master preacher. Variety keeps it interesting.
Make it Memorable
Catchy sermon titles such as: Nick at Night; And the Mule Went On; Cheated, Mistreated, but not Defeated; etc., creates interest. People will say, “I can’t wait to hear what that’s about.” Also, Rhetorical Ropes, alliterated outlines, are a good tool to use to help the audience remember the message. For example, with Jonah we could use the outline of…The Order, The Objection, The Ordeal. The genealogy of Jesus in Matthew chapter one could be outlined as…The Preview, The Overview, The Review. An outline from 1 Kings 17 might be…The Dry Brook, The Depleted Barrel, The Dead Boy. This is a great way to help people remember the message. Then one can expound on thoughts and principles within those points by using different tools in the toolbox.
Don’t Get Bogged Down with Too Much Information
I had a guest speaker come to speak who took way too much time with information. By the time he finally got to the point, he had lost them. It’s very important to have good information, but when people’s eyes start glazing over, you may have gone a little too long.
When developing points, think of paragraphs. For example, under a point you could have a paragraph of information, a paragraph of application, a paragraph of illustration, then a paragraph of exhortation/celebration. If you think paragraphs, you won’t get bogged down with any one particular area. People want substance, but make sure you don’t bring too much to the table.
Remember…Their Minds Can Only Grasp What Their Behinds Can Endure
I know of a minister who always had good things to say but would just preach way too long. People would dread to hear him speak. But then I started preaching with a stopwatch. I know Paul appeared to be long-winded, but If you’re going to preach forever at least be dynamic. If the horse is dead, DISMOUNT! The Gettysburg address was only 272 words long. Point: It doesn’t have to be eternal to be immortal.
Be a Resource Magnet
Invest in yourself. A leader is a learner, and a leader is a reader. I’m humble enough to know I don’t know it all. I’m a continual student. Your humility is directly proportionate to your teachability. If you’re not teachable, you’re not humble. I have thousands of books in my library and I learn something new every time I pick one up. Wordsearchbible.com is a great place to purchase resources for your computer. They have a plethora of Bibles, commentaries, word study resources, bible dictionaries and encyclopedias, sermon notes and outlines, etc…. Eat the fish and spit out the bones. Warning: Never allow these tools to replace your own study of Scripture. These are simply helps and tools that you can use along the way. For sermon construction, I recommend the following resources: Christ-Centered Preaching by Bryan Chapel and How to Prepare Bible Messages by James Braga. Also read Speak Like Churchill, Stand Like Lincoln, one of the best books on public speaking that you can read. I also love to read biographies of people past and present. We can learn much from other’s successes and failures. Our lives are either wonderful examples or tragic warnings. I’m always looking for little quips and quotes everywhere I go. A good filing system is one of a minister’s best friends!
As one minister said, “think yourself empty, read yourself full, write yourself clear, and pray yourself hot!”