If you want to impress people, talk about your successes.
If you want to impact people, share your failures.
John Maxwell said that.
And John Maxwell is right.
Too many times, preachers and public speakers talk about their success stories in an attempt to impress the audience and gain their respect. And while it’s sometimes appropriate to share our qualifications or learnings, approaching a subject from the position of an expert doesn’t always connect.
Success stories are impressive. But many people can’t relate. Describing yourself as the hero of the story will elevate you over the ordinary, but people often won’t be motivated to change.
Success stores do impress people.
But sharing failures is a better way to impact people.
So in a sermon about Biblical parenting, you can talk about how you lead nightly family devotionals and how your 4th grader has invited her entire class to Easter services. That’s impressive. But when you talk about the time when you lost your temper or said the wrong thing, people connect with that.
In your sermon about faith, you can talk about how much you believed God for something and He came through, and people will be challenged. Or you can talk about a time when you doubted God and didn’t know what to do.
Not only will they see you as a human – who lives a life like they live – they will be impacted by the human side of your struggle.
Focus on impacting people, not just impressing them.