What's so bad about adapting your sermon to your audience?
I’m a big fan of adapting your sermon to where your audience is in their spiritual journey. It means spending time to analyze where the majority of my audience will be in their journey with God and trying to determine what they need to make the next step. That means that when preaching for youth, I often preach seeker-sensitive, because I know that a lot of students are at the very beginning of their spiritual journey.
But I’ve discovered that not everyone knows what preaching seeker-sensitive means. There are a lot of prejudices and wrong associations about preaching seeker-sensitive, although I must admit some of them are caused by preachers applying the principle wrongly. Let me try to make clear what seeker-sensitive preaching is not.
It is not watering down the gospel.
It is not just preaching the basics.
It is not saying what your audience wants to hear.
It is not presenting Jesus as the easy fix for all your problems.
It is not choosing easy Bible passages.
It is not avoiding words like hell or sin.
It is not just preaching positive messages.
It is not just topical preaching.
It is not staying under 15 minutes.
It is not using only short Bible passages.
It is not preaching a less radical message.
It is not just preaching from the New Testament.
It is not preaching to make people feel good.
It is not avoiding difficult topics.
It is not preaching the prosperity gospel.
Seeker-sensitive preaching means adapting my sermon to the fact that my audience is, for the most part, not committed to Christ. I see it as a golden opportunity to preach the Gospel in all its force, allowing God to work in hearts and draw people to Him. It means I carefully choose my topic, my passages, my words, my tone, and my style so I have a better chance of reaching my audience with the wonderful news that Christ died for their sins. That’s it.
What does seeker-sensitive preaching mean to you?