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Preaching to Seekers Source: Mike Breaux, “Communicating in Today’s Reality,” Willow Creek, 2003

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Presentation on theme: "Preaching to Seekers Source: Mike Breaux, “Communicating in Today’s Reality,” Willow Creek, 2003"— Presentation transcript:

1 Preaching to Seekers Source: Mike Breaux, “Communicating in Today’s Reality,” Willow Creek, 2003

2 First of all … Don’t call them “seekers” Many think of themselves already as “Christians” –whether we do or not

3 What we say and what they hear … Remember the “communication wheel” There is a usually a gap between what we intend to say and what spiritual seekers actually hear

4 1 Corinthians 1:18, 21, 25 (NRSV) “For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” “For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe.” “For God's foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God's weakness is stronger than human strength.”

5 "Real deal, real meal." 1.Deal: Character of messenger 2. Meal: Content/Context of message

6 1. Character : Be real Don't try to be like someone else. Great turn-offs for seekers: arrogance, show-off, pretense, lack of obvious attribution. Leadership magazine cartoon: "Wife: Let's switch this week: why don't you be charming at home and grumpy at church?

7 The "Gawd voice." Quoting Greek and Hebrew –"the real meaning of "comforter"... Christian code Being false, pretentious, or someone else is exhausting.

8 B). Maintain a healthy sense of inadequacy. All gifts flourish in the soil of humility. It is good to be perceived as a fellow learner alongside your hearer. Throw the alley-oop for God to complete.

9 C). Preach from the overflow of your personal relationship with God. Do you love preaching or love God? Are you attending to the reservoir or simply going to the spigot? Live with the subject and text to the point that you can be taught before being a teacher.

10 D). Work hard with your gifts. Release the giftedness of others in the body of Christ so that you have time for preaching –do you fold the bulletin? "Study to show yourselves approved" –Let the Holy Spirit work through your preaching on Tuesday morning, not just Sunday morning. Winging it shows apathy to lost people.

11 "Real deal, real meal." 1.Deal: Character of messenger 2. Meal: Content/Context of message

12 2. Real Meal (Content/Context) “Let the Word speak!” “For Jesus doesn't change—yesterday, today, tomorrow, he's always totally himself.” (Hebrews 13:8, The Message) “Sky and earth will wear out; my words won't wear out.” (Luke 21:33 The Message) “God's servant must not be argumentative, but a gentle listener and a teacher who keeps cool, working firmly but patiently with those who refuse to obey. You never know how or when God might sober them up with a change of heart and a turning to the truth …” (2 Timothy 2:23-24) Ezra reads for hours and people are changed (Nehemiah 8:18)

13 1. Trust the Gospel to do its work. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. Romans 1:16 (NRSV) Don't rob seekers of Truth. Don't neglect or avoid the guard-rails: sin, repentance, morality, hell. People want to know where the underground dog fence lines are.

14 We don't need another motivational speaker –they only have one story the eagle who was raised by chickens –The goal is not better Americans but Christ-followers

15 2. Crack open the door of your life with sharing the appropriate balance of struggle and transformation. But don't just share your struggles. Make sure no hero is more than 97% good.

16 3. Build and utilize a team around you - it will enhance your creativity and connection. You'll get a lot of "footprints" s but also some good stuff –especially if you will coach them

17 4. Freely use the creative ideas of others. Freely acknowledge borrowing - it enhances your credibility as a thorough researcher and humble learner. Focus especially on the good series of others and good titles.

18 5. Be in touch with contemporary culture. Don't use any canned preacher stories –"on a windswept hill in “ –Cutesy sermon websites, mags

19 6. Weave transformational stories. Your story -> their story -> God's story. "What is most particular is most general." Share "yeah God!" stories. Buttrick: phenomenological formation of people through moves in consciousness. –When you share authentic stories of people who are being transformed, it maps for others how it can happen in them.

20 7. Pick Five. Up front, write down the names of five real seekers who might or could be hearers. Ask: "what would they ask?" Intelligibility: Level the playing field so that they are not shut out by code words.

21 8. Don't be afraid to deal with issues (seekers care), but don't be political. The apostles never preached, "If we could just get rid of Nero..." If seekers take the trouble to show up, they want to know what you have to say

22 9. Check your 'tude. Do you love seekers? Do you know any? Hang out with any? Get a seeker to evaluate your message. Do you hold up people like Eminem as negative examples? – creates "us vs.them" mentality –plus, they matter to God, and that's what you want to communicate.

23 A reminder about ‘tude …. Rock on desk: reminds me of … –the rock I crawled out from under and –not to throw stones.

24 10. Make the ask. "Because it's true." Preaching like it's the last time - Life is short and Jesus is the way. The #1 characteristic of those who connect with seekers is that they speak with passion. Where there is passion, you will find a way.

25 The Invitation? “Yes, and …” Vary approach Time in service Classic 3-fold Open beyond service Beyond extroverts Not always?!

26 A prayer before preaching … (by Bob Morehead?) “O God, don’t let the pulpit call me to the sermon; let the sermon call me to the pulpit. Before I break the bread of life, let it break me. Wash my heart and lift the iniquity there. I want to preach, yes, hemorrhage, under the divine anointing. Strip me of all pride, all cleverness, all showmanship, all salesmanship. Deliver me from reliance on suaveness, education, academics, personality, notes, canned quips and celestial cliches. Let me speak with the humility of Moses, the patience of Job, the wisdom of Paul, the passion of Peter, and the authority of Jesus Christ.”

27 Prayer before Preaching (continued) “Lord, make my preaching clear, not clever; passionate, not pitiful; urgent, not usual; meaty, not murky. Let me disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed. Let it warn the sinner, mature the saint, give hope to the discouraged, and ready for heaven the whole audience. Let self be abased, Christ be exalted, the cross be central, and the plea be with passion. May my eyes never be dry. Just now, Lord, take me out of myself. Usurp anything I plan to say when it’s in the way of your message. Here I am, Lord. I am your vessel. Amen.”

28 Preaching to Seekers John Chandler


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