Chapter 28

Preaching to Everyone in Particular

How to scratch where people niche

While Grace Chapel in Lexington, Massachusetts, was without a pastor for over a year, I preached there often. The church is remarkably diverse, having Harvard professors and high school dropouts, doctors and lawyers and house cleaners, political activists and those who don't even read the newspaper, people with multimillion-dollar investment portfolios and minimum-wage workers. In addition, members are of many races and colors.

I stood before such diversity each week amazed at the responsibility I had to reach them all. As I prepared my sermons, I stewed over how my sermon could reach the entire cross section.

As men and women who preach, our task can be expressed simply: to become all things to all people. To actually do it is a formidable task.

Sacrificing what comes naturally

When we fail to speak to the entire cross section in our churches, we resemble the doctor who knows only how to set a broken arm: if a patient complains of a bellyache, the doctor breaks his arm so she can set ...

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