Seeker Friendly Preaching
I have been doing a lot of reading on preaching, evangelism, and church organization of late. Seeker friendly is a term that is popular today and I guess it is a loaded word that has lots of emotion because many people love it and many hate it. As I have been reading and talking with others I thought about what I think seeker friendly preaching should look like and what I wish all preaching was like. I think that if more preaching was like this then more people would drag their friends to hear the gospel message.
1. Message need to be firmly rooted in the bible. I hate people who misuse the bible or piece scriptures together to make some point. Preaching needs to be centered in God’s word and to help people learn to read and understand it in its original context. I recently listened to a lesson that had 10 passages and it was so fluffy and disjointed I didn’t learn anything about God.
2. Message that is clear. Have you ever listened to a lesson and walked away wondering what the point of the lesson was? The preacher may have used powerpoint and listed his points but you may still wonder what the point was. Andy Stanley in his book on preaching suggest we ask ourselves, “why do they need to hear this?” This helps us know the point of the lesson and helps the audience understand the point. Who wants to come and listen to someone speak when you don’t understand why he is sharing this information with you.
3. Don’t assume your audience knows. Remember the story when King Tiglath-pileser of Assyria attacked Israel? Why do some preachers assume people have been in church their whole lives? I had a friend of mine in college who asked for a children’s bible because he didn’t know any of the stories the preachers often said, “you all know the story of..”
4. Message that bridges then with now or has lots of life application. OK this is my biggest pet peve. I hate sermons that only tell me how the lesson applies to my life during the wrap up. If you want me to get fired up for God and his word then explain the text and explain how it looks in my life. Don’t spend 30 minutes telling me how it applied to them and only 5 on how it applies to me. How about spending 20 telling me what it meant then and 15 telling me what it means to me. Think about this if you only spend 5 minutes on me and 30 on them what was more important? How I live today or how they lived then? If we spent more time helping us know how to live out the bible then maybe more people would.
5. Message that everyone can understand. I have taken 4 semesters of Greek and understand its value in bible study. I don’t tell it to my students because they could care less and wouldn’t understand. Somethings they may not understand so I try to break it down so they can. Preachers would do well to remember that they are not only preaching to adults but students. Not just to the educated but the un-educated. Make sure we can all follow you.