When I do seminars on preaching, I teach pastors to make sure their message is “Clear, Compelling, and Couched In Love.” Clear is about making sure everything is at a level people can understand, about making no assumptions. Couched in love is about the fact that people are open to hearing truth, but not if it’s coming from a jerk.
The compelling part hits on this USA Today article I mentioned in my post yesterday. The article reveals that increasingly people in America don’t care about church, God, or even “spirituality.” They’re not searching, not asking questions, and not interested.
Apparently there was a time in America when if you could prove to people that the Bible and Jesus’ claims were true, they would agree to become a Christian. Today, if I prove to someone that the Bible and Jesus’ claims are true (which I can), the response I would expect is, “So what?” Truth doesn’t overcome their apathy. And that’s why we have to make it compelling. We must show them why it matters. People need to see not that it’s true, but that it’s what they need and what will change their lives. We need to present, in a compelling way, that what they really need is love – and God is the only one offering perfect love, and that they need healing from their hurts – and God offers healing, and the difference that having a sense of purpose provides – and God offers that purpose. We must answer the “so what” question.