As I mentioned in my last post about problem solving, getting to sit in on a work-related class gave me to do something I enjoy doing – finding spiritual uses in secular tips. The willingness to hone this skill allows preachers to pass along spiritual knowledge by giving illustrations that use the knowledge people already have about various secular things in life. Such is the reason why Jesus’ parables still stick to this day! Remember how to talk to your audience, and they may be better able to remember what we say.
With that being said, tip #2 is: “Don’t make me think.”
This is a tough one for preachers. After all, it’s not the responsibility of the preacher to spoon-feed someone his or her entire life (Hebrews 5:12-13). A lack of knowledge concerning God’s word is no small-matter, and it can actually come at great peril to the soul (2 Timothy 2:15, Hosea 4:6; 2 Peter 3:18, Mark 12:24). But let’s be honest, as the original speaker was trying to point out in relation to creating something that will be used others, most people do not like to think. They want it simple and easy!
As preachers, remembering our audience is important. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, a conversation about Melchizedek and Jesus probably won’t be beneficial. Teaching someone the whole gospel doesn’t mean they have to learn the whole thing at one time. If someone is hungry they will ask for more. Hearts are still tested with those parables of Jesus you know (Matthew 13:10-17, Ephesians 4:17-32).
Am I saying the gospel should be dumbed down? Absolutely not. What I am saying is we need to know where someone is before we can help get them where they need to be (Acts 8:26-35; 19:1-5).
If someone doesn’t want to think that’s on them as an individual. They must decide if they will believe the gospel. They must engage their mind. Christianity is a “thinking religion” because we serve a God who seeks to challenge our minds through the cross (Isaiah 1:18, Acts 17:2; 18:4; 18:19; 24:25; 1 Corinthians 1:23-24). If it must be so, let someone else judge themselves unworthy of God’s grace (Acts 13:46). But to the best of our ability we need to try thinking like others in order to get others to think about and think like Jesus so we can help save their soul from Hell (1 Corinthians 9:19-22, Philippians 2:1-11).
None of this is an excuse for a preacher to not work hard at presenting the lessons of the gospel – truth be told, when someone has the ability to make something complicated sound easy, it’s usually because a lot of hard work proceeded the discussion.