Rhetoric & Homiletics: Doing & Knowing What You Are Doing — Is Different.

analytical.jpeg   WHY? — Go Analytical!

In his book, “Preaching That Moves People,” Yancy Arrington asked Bruce Wesley to write the “Forward.”

Bruce Wesley, “Founding and Senior Pastor of Clear Creek Community Church,” states

So, one day, I asked Yancey some questions about how he thinks about preaching,  I wanted to learn how to take people somewhere when I preached too.  To my surprise, he didn’t know how to help me.  He had never thought about it.  Like many people with extreme gifting, Yancey could rite and preach messages that were both engaging and impactful, but he couldn’t tell someone else how to do it.


Sr. Pastor Bruce Wesley also stated that he sat under the ministry of Yancy Arrington for over twenty years.  Wesley states . . . .


“For twenty years, I have enjoyed a front-row seat in Yancy’es life as God transformed a good preacher into a great preaching.”


Both of these comments establish a fundamental principle about preaching:

Doing Is Different From
Understanding What You Are Doing.


Understanding “What Is Being Done”
Takes More Than Speaking Or Listening.


That is not a criticism!  It is a truth which is reflected in many other realms of expertise and effectiveness.

Very few Olympic Gold Medalist are coaches.  The fact is, most were coached by those who never even went to the Olympics.  While typically most coaches participated in this-or-that sport, MOST never even went to the Olympics, no less medaled.  The coach may have medaled at a regional or national level.

Likewise, in professional sports — a player may have been  “GOAT,” yet never moved from being a player to a coach.  Add that to the fact that many coaches never attained the level of success which some of his/her players have and/or will attain. 1


“It is easy to assume that because a person was a great athlete that they will make a great coach.

And while you can probably name a few coaches who were once great players, the reality is that it is rare. Yes, there are successful coaches who were once great players like Larry Bird, Isiah Thomas, Jason Kidd, Steve Kerr, Diego Maradona, and Johan Cruyff. However, as great as they were as players, many might still debate their effectiveness as coaches. Although we have mentioned a few, we still wonder why we could not list more.

The reality is that our assumptions may be wrong. Just because a coach, once an athlete, dominated the leaderboard in their prime years, it does not mean that they will automatically make great coaches.” 1


Note: You may not realize that Vince Lombardi never played professional football – period!  But he had the needed instincts to know what makes an effective player and team!

Without going “analytical,” an individual may never grasp the “why.” — Why is it working as it is working?

Now, a research scientist is an individual who seeks out the “why” and/or “what is happening that this is producing that response.”  He goes analytical – quantitative.  He wants to know the “why.”  What is this working the way it is working?

But hold on, there is yet another layer. 

If a person . . . .

is an effective participant
does know the “why” or the “what”

. . . . that does not mean he/she can communicate it successfully!

We have all had teachers who were just OUTSTANDING!  They made that subject extraordinarily interesting and held our attention.  Some of those teachers even motivated their students to go into this-or-that field of study.

It was not that they necessarily knew more than others, but they knew how to communicate it in a way that we got it!  We got it — because they got it!

Instinctively or Knowingly
Consciously or Unconsciously
Understanding the “Why” or Not!


Doing Is Different From Understanding What You Are Doing!


#1) You can be a good-to-great preacher and not know the “why.” 

#2) You can be a long-time listener — a twenty-year front-row listener — and not uncover what that good-to-great preacher is doing which makes him effective.

#3) Understanding the “why” or “what” does not mean you can communicate the “why” or “what.”  


√  If you are not given to analytical thinking, it will be difficult at best to explain why you are effective.  You may not understanding “what” you are doing, which makes you effective.

√  If you only listen to speeches and/or messages experientially, and not analytically (during and/or after), you may not understand how to change up the way you engage an audience in order to be more effective.

√  If you are a good-to-great speaker and can go “analytical,” you are a candidate for writing a book, conducting a seminar on preaching, or being a homiletics professor.  But  can you communicate the “why.”

That is why Bruce Wesley states . . . .

“I urged Yancey to think about how to help other preachers do what came so naturally to him.  And he did . . . . The concepts in this book are the result of years of Yancey’s devotion to help others think about preaching in a way that moves people.”


You’ll have to read the book to determine if he was able to go analytical — to understand the “why” and “what” of effective preaching — and then whether he was able to communicate them.


Oh — One more point Wesley makes in the “Forward” . . . .


“The content of this book has been tested as Yancey trained the preaching cohort at Clear Creek Communicty Church.  As a result, our preaching got better. . . . . Experienced pastors like me, who have preached for years, have urged Yancey to write this book because the ideas herein have been so helpful.”



#4) Understanding the “why” and “what” means that a speaker-preacher can improve on his giftedness. 

Effectiveness can be taught and learned.

There are ways to become more effective communicators.  



Other Information & Links:

1. https://www.leaguenetwork.com/great-athletes-make-great-coaches/




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