Connecting with More Listeners
Preaching that connects to the diverse needs of your hearers.
Writing and teaching in the field of homiletics has focused predominantly on getting the text right (exegesis), getting the style right (rhetoric), and, most importantly, getting God right (theology). These are, no doubt, essential concerns and skills for effective preaching. But something is missing. The preaching event involves not only God, the preacher, and the biblical text, but the people who listen to the sermon. Getting the listener "right" is a paramount, though often neglected, consideration in preaching.
Effective sermons engage the varied listening styles represented in the congregation. Too often, we preachers become stylistically self-absorbed. We are tempted to let our stylistic preferences dominate our preaching. The only problem with my preferences is that they center on me, the preacher, and not the needs of the people to whom I preach. Sometimes we preachers promote our personal style from preference to principle without even realizing we're doing ...