Whoops: Preaching to the Unchurched (7)

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.

The religion and self-help sections at bookstores are huge. … Millions of
people follow Oprah in pursuing a personalized spirituality.

So what’s the problem? This may be subtle, but it’s important to not say this in a negative or condescending way. If so, I think a bunch of people will immediately decide, “I’m not coming back here. This guy is holier than thou and thinks only his religion is worth pursuing.”

So what’s the solution? What’s interesting is that this sermon is based on Acts 17 when Paul speaks at Mars Hill. The pastor who wrote this sermon makes these two statements in a negative way. But in Paul’s sermon he mentions the religious searching of his audience and says it’s a good thing. I think the same could be done in this message. The two statements above could be said, and then something like, “And it’s so cool that people are searching. And it reveals something about us… that we were made for more than this world. That we have a spiritual dimension. But is it possible truer, something more meaningful and beautiful, than what we find on the shelf of the bookstore or Oprah’s TV show?”