Audience Sensitivity

Assessing Congregational Needs

“But Dad, I NEED it!” It’s amazing to me how often those words are repeated in my house. I have two daughters and a son who are in the teenage years, and they are constantly wanting something new. I occasionally feel like my God-given job is just to say ... Read More »

The Recipients of Preaching: What Role Does the Audience Play in Preaching?

“Sermons don’t change the world; changed people change the world”-Dr. Charles E. Goodman, Jr. At its best, preaching is not what is said but ultimately what is heard. Most of the emphasis in the preaching moment is on the preacher. As much as the preache... Read More »

The Relevance of Preaching: Applying an Ancient Text to Modern Situations

The Bible is relevant. God’s Word is just as living, active, and penetrating today as it was when the Spirit first inspired its writers to record its truths for its original recipients. Unfortunately, we preachers sometimes muddle its relevance as we attempt... Read More »

How the Twitter Age Changes the Way People Think

In many church contexts, social media is negatively viewed and even discouraged in some circles. A proper understanding, training, and security measures need to be present for all ages of usage. Although the Twitter and social media enterprise possesses danger... Read More »

The Apathy Challenge: How to Keep the Sermon Interesting When People Become Disinterested

Let’s face it. We have all seen their faces. Bill looks likely to snore at any moment. Cindy seems to be staring off into outer space. John’s iPhone has him on lock. The youth giggle flirtatiously. Even worse, you watched at least a dozen folks who attende... Read More »

The Media Challenge: Proclaiming Ancient Truth Amidst Sensory Bombardment

In 1953 Ray Bradbury published the dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451.  In it protagonist Guy Montag observes his wife using “Seashells,” described as follows: And in her ears the little Seashells, the timble radios tamped tight, and an electronic ocean of so... Read More »

The Hurt Challenge: Why Brokenness and Suffering in the Pew Makes Preaching Difficult

Someone has said, “Preach to hurting people and you will never want for an audience.” Suffering is universal. Adam brought sin to the human race. Suffering is the byproduct of sin. Even when suffering is not associated with sin, it is because of sin that s... Read More »

The Heart Challenge: The Heart of the Problem is the Problem of the Heart

Great preaching aims at more than the head. Being truthful and touching the intellect both matter deeply. We are, after all, called to preach God’s word, and that deals with facts, knowledge, and reason. But great preaching recognizes that just as the head n... Read More »