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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Pre-Converts Shaped My Preaching

“Agnostic seekers who visit churches don’t want meaty preaching.” “Un-churched people tend to venture into those churches that preach a watered-down Gospel.” “Our church preaches the truth so we don’t have a lot of seekers and new believers.” Have you ever heard a churchgoer, maybe one who attends your church, spew out assumptions like these? The mindset behind these assumptions is warped and reveals a lack of interaction with pre-converted agnostic seekers.

To my shame, I have held some of these assumptions. Then, God began to lead a large number of pre-converts into the life of the congregation I served as pastor. My assumptions were demolished. I spent lots of time interacting with these spiritual explorers. They taught me so much about how to preach. In fact, I would venture to say that nothing shaped my preaching more than the influx of seekers God brought into the life of that church. As I looked into their eyes and listened to their hearts during and beyond the preaching event, I sensed them conveying:

“Don’t just give us life-application that will help us with our marriage and finances; Give us God.”

“We can handle the hard questions of life, so please refrain from overly simplifying and neatly packaging complex issues.”

“We want you to be a person of integrity, but we also want to know you are one among us and not one above us. If you are the spiritual hero of every story you share, you will seem inaccessible.”

“Be honest about the bad news and we will hear you when you proclaim the good news. Don’t sugarcoat life. No one in the real world experiences life as a bed of roses. If you suggest that you do, we will conclude you are a liar living in la-la land and stop listening to you.”

“We don’t want purposeless humor and anecdotes strung together to entertain us; we want to encounter Christ in the moment your words are spoken.”     

“Show us that you know us. Voice our questions and concerns. Voice our disappointments and dreams. Voice our heartache and hope. But show us you know God too. We crave both contextual relevance and theological substance.”

2 comments:

Tammie Swaney said...

“We want you to be a person of integrity, but we also want to know you are one among us and not one above us. If you are the spiritual hero of every story you share, you will seem inaccessible.” Lenny this is so true and is so close to my heart. We need to be real! Blessings to you. I admire what you're doing. ~Tammie

Lenny Luchetti said...

Tammie, I admire what you're doing too. Keep at it.
Lenny