Podcast Episode 15 | 13 min
Reaching Those Far From God
People are interested in spiritual things, but they need help understanding the Bible.
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Matt Woodley: This is Matt Woodley, editor of PreachingToday.com on Monday Morning Preacher, and I’m here today with our guest host, Dave Ferguson. Dave, it’s great to have you.
Dave Ferguson: It’s good to be here. Thanks for having me, Matt.
MW: So Dave, you are at a church called The Yellow Box. That’s not the real name but tell us how it got that nickname.
DF: Actually, the church I lead is called Community Christian but our first location, we didn’t have any money so we basically built like a butler building, just a box, and rather than painting it gray we painted it bright yellow.
So when people drove by instead of calling it Community Christian they would say, "Oh, I go to the Yellow Box." Literally ever since then we’ve added a few additions so it actually looks decent now, but on the outside it says “Yellow Box.”
MW: I’ve driven by it many times and it is a yellow box.
DF: Yes, it is.
MW: So you and your brother John wrote a book called, Finding Your Way Back to God, and as part of the promo material for that book you guys write, and I quote, “We live in a very important time in the spiritual trajectory in our society and world.” Describe the spiritual trajectory that we’re on.
DF: Maybe different than others, I see it as a time of tremendous opportunity. I think there is an unprecedented amount of searching. We have a generation of people who once had an inherited faith. Now, it’s more of an investigative faith, and they’re looking for something, and they’re looking for this God they believe in but, they didn’t find it at the last place. I think what they’re looking for—and this is why I wrote the book—is for someone to help them find their way back to God.
MW: What do preachers need to unlearn about our approach to preaching given this new cultural context we are in?
DF: People are spiritual, but not biblical. If they’re showing up at your church they’re looking for something. There’s less and less people that feel obligated to be there on Sunday, so we need to assume these people are interested in spiritual things, they just don’t understand biblical things. Which means, as I am preparing my sermon I need to think about how I can make the sermon content accessible. I think the other thing is they’re on a journey, so what is our role in helping them take the next step on their journey.
MW: Tell us, what is the role of preaching in helping people find their way back to God?
DF: I think preaching is a way to shepherd and even lead in creating culture. Think about three expanding concentric cultures. At the center of it are what we call values. Then the second concentric circle is what you call narrative. The third one is behaviors.
Dave Ferguson is the lead pastor of Community Christian Church in Naperville, Illinois. Dave provides visionary leadership for NewThing and he is the president and board chair for Exponential. Dave is also an adjunct professor at Wheaton Graduate School and the author of many Christian leadership books including The Big Idea (Zondervan, 2007).