“Preach” to Your Audience

Posted: May 23, 2021 in Uncategorized

Whether you preach or make art or in some other way communicate, one of the most important things you can do is know your audience. Now of course I am not talking about compromising the Gospel, but merely expressing the unchanging message of the Gospel in a way that will connect with them and in a way that they will understand. Case in point. Today I was working on a message series I will be doing in a few weeks at Haven Camp, at Delta Lake Bible Conference in Rome, NY. Haven Camp is a camp for adults with developmental disabilities. This camp is a highlight of my year each year, for a couple of reasons. First of all the people are just great, so full of love and kindness and just generally fun to be around. Also the camp and the staff are first rate, but one of the things I love most is the preparation to speak. You see this really keeps me on my game. These are not children, they are adults and want (and deserve) to be treated as such. At the same time, I have to communicate these messages in ways they are capable of understanding. This is tremendously helpful. I can’t get all scholarly and if I have to get into something a little more complex, I have to make sure that I am explaining it clearly and not just assuming everyone understands.

Think about it. This is a seriously helpful practice for speaking to any group. It makes me ask the questions, “Will everyone understand what I am talking about?” “Do my examples work in their world?” “Is any jargon explained?” If not, I need to break it down further. Maybe it’s because I feel a calling for the Lord to communicate the Gospel in a way everyone can understand, but I’ve been in too many places where it seems the presenter is trying to show me how smart they are. Can I be honest, Mr. or Miss Speaker. I don’t really care how smart you are. That is not the test of a great communicator. No for a communicator to be truly great, the audience needs to be smarter when they leave the room than they were when they came in. They need to understand what you were communicating, because the purpose of communication is to be understood, otherwise it’s a waste of time. Secondly, the audience needs to be engaged. They need to feel your passion for the material, and if you don’t have passion for the material, find something for which you do have passion. This is important for any communication, but it is essential for communicating the Gospel. Make sure your audience understands, no matter who they are, and then help them to find your subject as interesting as you do.

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