5 Keys to Ensure Your Sermon is Relevant to Any Audience

Sep 25 2020

When it comes to preparing a message, it’s not hard to talk about the things that interest us. It can be easy to talk about our culture, viewpoints and perspective, while also assuming that they are the only or primary way of seeing the world.

However, God has a much broader perspective and we are called by God to be culturally relevant to every single person and group of people listening to our words.

Ps Robert Fergusson says that, “We should be able to talk to anybody at any time in any place and make the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ relevant to their situation.” 

But how are we going to do that? In the just launched Reach & Influence online preaching course,  Robert reveals five steps that will ensure your sermons are relevant to any audience that you are in front of.

1. Love people

Love will always win a crowd. Love will always build a bridge. Love will always connect with people outside of your situation.

If you genuinely love people, it will be communicated in both what you say and the way you say it; and your audience will almost always recognise if it is there or not.

2. Talk to people

Preparation of your sermon is not restricted to when you open a commentary, but throughout the week as you converse with people. Take the opportunity to talk to people about their life and their world. Be genuinely curious and interested in their experience and perspectives, so that when you do have an opportunity to speak on a platform, you’ll know how to build a bridge across to what is real for them.

3. Use stories

Stories are universally popular and have been for millennia. Not only do they draw engagement from your audience, but, unless you’re intentional, they may also be the only part of your message that someone remembers afterwards.

As you prepare, select a compelling story that describes the scenario or illustrates your message.

4. Respect people’s differences

When visiting a new church, denomination, suburb, city or country, the best thing to do is conduct some research about that new place and culture. That might be on Google, a book, or asking questions, but once you’ve got the research, respect it.

In some cultures, it’s offensive to put your hands in your pockets while you’re speaking. In others, it’s offensive to wear shoes while you’re speaking.

Respect other people’s cultures and their opinions.

5. Be honest about yourself

Have you noticed that all these steps that ensure you and your message will be received as relevant are really about removing barriers? The more barriers between you and your audience, the less relevant it will be.

The final way to remove these barriers and build a bridge that connects with people is using self-deprecating humour regarding your failings and mistakes. Instantly, your audience can engage around your shared humanity as they accept that you are just like them.

Andy Hopper
Hillsong Network

 

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