It would seem obvious since a preacher is going to stand in front of a room of people that one would actually consider the people they are going to address; but unfortunately, that's not always the case. This is rooted in the purpose, which I discussed yesterday. If someone's goal is, for example, simply to transfer information than they will consider the content, but not the people who will receive it. If the goal is transformation, then both must be considered. This is not say I just try to figure out what people want to hear, but it means that I do consider them in the process. Here are some ways I consider people:
- Commitment -The room each week is filled with people deeply committed to Christ, recently committed to Christ and not yet committed to Christ. How can I share something helpful to each person that will assist them in taking the next step in their spiritual journey? [a classic mistake preachers can make is to assume they are preaching to mature believers...thus alienating a lot of people with undefined theological terms and Christianese that gets liberally peppered in]
- Challenges -What are some of the felt-needs that seem to be effecting a lot of people in society at large or our local church body? What are the hot issues? Then, I ask what is the issue underneath the issue or the sin underneath the sin...this moves from the felt needs to the real heart issues that need to be addressed
- Christ -Jesus is a Person that needs great consideration in he process! The message may begin with the felt needs of the listeners but I try to end it with the power and sufficiency of Jesus to deal with whatever the topic is and wherever it is found in the bible [OT or NT]. Once the real heart issues are exposed it's only Jesus that has the power to do a deep heart surgery and fix what needs mending. Beyond that it's also important that we simply magnify the one who is the reason we gather
There are more ways I consider people in the process, but I'm not aiming for a marathon post. Next time...the presentation...