Whoops: Preaching to the Unchurched (2)

The reason I started this blog was to try and help pastors who truly want to reach people who are far from God, but may need a little help with that. This is about the only thing I do well, so someone suggested I share ideas. — Anyway, I recently read a sermon by someone who is a great guy and great preacher and who wants to reach the lost. Yet in this sermon he made, in my opinion, some critical mistakes that would keep him from connecting with the unchurched, and may well keep them from coming back to his church. I received his permission to share some examples. — So here’s the deal…

Read the following excerpt from his sermon and see if you can spot the “mistake.” Then I’ll share with you what I saw, and how I would correct it.

And it’s very interesting the four groups that are mentioned here, because they have the same traits as those who search for God today:The first group mentioned is Jews. Paul is a Jew, so he first goes to the people like him.

So what’s the problem? I just really don’t like the sound of that last sentence. Theologically it may be correct, but it just sounds bad. To me, it sounds similar to someone saying, “I’m white, so of course I want to reach white people more than black people.” No one, especially no unchurched person, is going to say, “Yeah, that’s cool.” No, it sounds offensive. And I don’t think we want to paint Paul in a way that makes people wonder if he was a racist.

So what’s the solution? Well, I’m not sure if that sentence is even necessary. If, for some reason, it is necessary, at least take a few sentences to explain it. Maybe something like, “Paul was a Jew, so he often went to the Jews first. I guess he figured he’d be most effective in relating to them. But what’s ironic is that Paul became known for his effectiveness now with the Jews, but with people who weren’t Jewish…”