The TED talk phenomenon has snowballed since the very first talk in 1984. With its slogan “ideas worth sharing”, TED has arguably even created its own genre, that of entertainment-through-inspiration. Short, punchy, often emotionally moving presentations, they’re meant to leave you with a fire in your belly and scales fallen from your eyes.
And so understandably they’ve got the attention of those who are regularly involved in preaching. On the one hand some seem very critical, dismissing the suggestion that the Christian preacher could learn anything from a phenomenon outside the church. On the other hand some appear intent to overhaul the seminary textbook and treat TED as the best thing since sliced bread, or at least since the Powerpoint pulpit frenzy of the 90’s.
So, here’s an engaging piece from Chris Green, ‘Should we preach like a TED talk?’:
TED is 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’?
And ‘How can I preach like a TED speaker?’ Because if you see the tagline, ‘Ideas worth spreading’, you’ll think, ‘But we have the best idea worth spreading that there is!’ And you’re right. Then we think of the attractiveness, audience pulling power, of a TED speaker, and we begin to dream.
For preachers, there will always be a prior question, though. ’Should I 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 in its attack…
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