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To preach in a way that connects with your hearers, I encourage you to do four things:
1. Enter Their World
Preachers who engage their listeners consider what their world looks like. Jesus did that. Preaching to a mostly agrarian society, His sermons were full of plowing, sowing and reaping analogies. He knew His culture, and He preached into that culture.
2. Open the Book
Entering our listeners' world is only as meaningful as we make the connection between their world and God's revelation. Majoring on heart-stirring stories, transparent confessions and motivational injunctions are the paths of least resistance for speaking; a sermon devoid of the Word will not "stick" in a person and result in lasting transformation. Only the Spirit and the Word can do that.
Do you point people to the Scripture as you preach? Your authority as a preacher comes from one source: the Word of God.
3. Pull Back the Curtain
If you want your sermon to stick, you must pull back the curtain to reveal who God is, who we are and what He really wants. It is too easy for preachers to slip into becoming moral teachers–religious instructors who pass out rules for spiritual living without pulling back the curtain on God and ourselves; pulling back that curtain is what our people need the most!
4. Call for a Response
Preaching never should aim merely at the head, but also at the heart and will. Intellectual preaching changes the mind for a while.
Convictional preaching changes the heart for eternity. God gave us His Word that we might be transformed, not just informed. Therefore, solid preaching always calls for a response.
On the simplest level, this response is faith and repentance. We are called to leave something and believe something; but calling for faith and repentance is only helpful when it is specific, clear and seen in light of the gospel.
Ed Stetzer, Ph.D., holds the Billy Graham Chair of Church, Mission and Evangelism at Wheaton College and serves as Executive Director of the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism. He has planted, revitalized, and pastored churches, trained pastors and church planters on six continents, holds two master's degrees and two doctorates and has written dozens of articles and books. Read more about Ed at EdStetzer.com.
This article originally appeared at edstetzer.com.
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