Knowing Your Audience?


Over the past couple of months as I have been on the search for a call, I have had the opportunity to listen to a variety of pastors preaching across the country through different mediums. Sometimes live, sometimes on CD, sometimes on VHS and often on Podcasting. Knowing that I am also sending out sermon cds or pointing them to my audio archive online, I have begun to wonder about how we may be effectively and ineffectively preaching to our audience.

My mentor in college really helped me see that when writing a sermon we should be imagining that we are in a conversation with 1) the longterm member of the church, 2) the new Christian, and 3) the friend who got tricked into coming to the service. This has really helped me make sure that my language and my focus is spread wider than the normal sermon that focuses on the first group, or the evangelical event that focuses sololy on the last.

However, now I wonder if we need a forth person–the random Podcast listener.

While attending a service in person, the pastor kept saying “and for those of you who are listening online…” then would quickly describe some hand motion or nonverbal movement which they would have missed. Unfortunately, it felt like this was his main target group, and often overlooked connecting with the real, live people in front of him.

While I wonder how it would sound from the ipod side, I think by calling these particular groups out can often time alienate others.

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