I watched an episode of “The Andy Griffith Show” today and it reminded me of an important principle for preachers, Bible teachers and personal workers alike.
The episode was titled, “The Sermon for Today” and it centered around a visiting preacher from New York. This visiting preacher preached a sermon called, “Watch Your Hurry” and the topic was exactly what you might think it would be … it was about the “modern day” obsession with being busy and the need for people to stop hurrying and remembering to relax. The lesson was so “soothing” a couple of the listeners comically fell asleep.
So what principle did this episode remind me about? It was about the importance of remembering your audience. The listeners definitely understood the lesson because they referenced it several times throughout the episode (even if they didn’t properly apply it), but if you were to ask me I think the preacher forgot his audience. His audience wasn’t the hurrying people of New York; his audience was the people of the sleepy little town of Mayberry, North Carolina.
Now when I say we need to remember our audience I’m not saying we need to give ear scratching lessons (2 Timothy 4:2-3), I’m saying if we do our best to keep our audience in mind we may be more likely to capture the mind of the audience.
Lessons don’t have to be “fun” or “exciting” or “original” to be beneficial (if it’s new it ain’t true after all) but to get the most benefit for the audience it helps to keep the benefit of our audience in mind.
“Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you:” (Acts 17:22-23 NKJV)