The challenge for preaching is that most churches don’t have a homogeneous congregation. The people who are listening to the message are coming from different backgrounds and perspectives. I think that its is a mistake to write a sermon that attempts to cover every group. It is better to find out what most of the congregation is like and to plan a number of messages aimed at the minority groups.
These are five kinds of people that are found in many congregations.
- The disinterested unbeliever. This person may be hostile to the message or apathetic. They likely attend church to satisfy a family member.
- The open seeker. This person is not a Christian but they are interested in the message. They likely attend for the same reason as the first group.
- The new Christian. This person has called upon Jesus as Lord but does not have much biblical or theological knowledge. They desire to learn.
- The apathetic Christian. This person has been a part of the church for a long time. They know the stories and don’t feel that there is much more to learn. They are often not involved in ministry.
- The mature Christian. The maturity of the Christian does not necessarily reflect the years in the church. Some people who have been Christians for two years are more mature than people who have been Christians for twenty years. They desire to learn more about the Bible and are looking for ways to apply that knowledge to practical ministry.