Monday, March 9, 2009
Know Your Audience
I love to preach. There aren’t very many things that get me more excited than studying the Bible and then figuring out, through the Spirit of God, how I am going to communicate my findings. Sometimes I get so excited that I just have to let it out. (I have a gracious wife who is often patient as I ramble on about the apostle Paul and the gospel that he proclaimed; but I don’t think she minds too much.)
A lesson that I have been recently learning is the importance of knowing your audience. I have had several opportunities to teach and they have all been to diverse groups of people. The grace kids that I taught for a couple years were aged 3-6, I lectured on the doctrine of justification to Grace Fellowship Church (my home) to a whole bunch of people, and my continuing ministry at the nursing home where I teach the seniors. Again and again I have to remind myself that different audiences require different methods, otherwise I may be preaching in vain.
I received some great advice from my friend, who is in his 80’s, who told me that I need to teach the seniors in a similar way as the grace kids. The folks at the nursing home aren’t just retirees, they are dying. Most of them can no longer walk and many cannot even speak. I have to keep things real simple and I can’t take anything for granted (e.g. I have to explain who Adam and Eve are).
At our church the elders often address the children during their sermons. This keeps them awake and, at least, helps them get something out of the sermon. I have put this into practice with the seniors and I’m finding that it is a very effective way of keeping people involved, both mentally and emotionally. I’m still learning but I’m always looking for ways that I could improve so that I can serve our king and his kingdom better.
P.S. I found a job…..and I am writing this on my lunch break ;-)