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Felt-Needs Preaching

An interview with Wheaton College president Duane Litfin about speaking to felt needs and real needs.

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PreachingToday.com: What's the difference between felt needs and real needs, and how should this distinction affect our preaching?

Duane Litfin: Often there isn't a difference. The felt need is a real need. Our difficulty comes when a distinction is to be made between the felt need and the real need; in other words, when people have a felt need but that's not their real need.

Good preaching speaks to both of them, but sometimes the felt need is where you need to begin. Sometimes you need to zero in on the real need and raise it to the level of a felt need. A good introduction will often do that. People walk in on a Sunday morning, and they don't start out with this as a felt need. But by the time you're through with your introduction, you have taken the real need your text is going to speak to, and you have raised it to the level of a felt need. You'd be hard pressed to find a better definition of what an introduction is supposed to do.

In this culture, people are talked into certain kinds ...

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