Preaching to People who Don’t Care (about what I care about)

WHAT I DIDN’T LEARN IN SEMINARY

“Don’t worry folks. I took a preaching class in seminary.” The problem is that everyone who was in the preaching class was also in seminary–and they cared about what I cared about. Imagine my surprise upon entering local church ministry and discovering that people outside of seminary don’t care about what seminarians care about!

For instance, and pardon the insider language, I’ve never had a conversation with a person about 8th Century iconoclast controversies (health warning, the link is to a summary of this topic, which may bore you into a coma). I know what you’re thinking. “But I love iconoclast controversies of ANY century!” Believe it or not, not everyone does, especially folks who aren’t in seminary.

So when the time comes to stand behind the lectern or music stand or whatever, and you are in front of single moms, couples on the verge of divorce, 20-year-olds who have been burned by Christians and are giving it one last chance, a good bit of seminary slowly fades into the recesses. All of the sudden, contrived theological and philosophical answers don’t seem to carry the same weight they did just the year before with all my classmates.

These people are real,  with real issues, real hurts, and real needs. The deepest need is always the gospel. But the gospel reaches head AND heart. I’m still learning this lesson and how to preach to both head and heart. So be patient with me please.

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