Who Listens Essay

2732 words - 11 pages

The church is full of people from all walks of life who hear and interpret a preacher's message via their own understanding and experiences. Some listeners might be Italian, others Russian, some definitely Australian, whatever their nationality all have their own distinct culture and belief systems. It is the mission of the preacher to get beyond these cultures and regardless of whether a person is converted or unconverted, effectively preach the Word of God. Obstacles will be evident; some of these being age, listeners with habitual problems, well-educated people, blue-collar workers etc., and a preacher must take all this and more into account in order to be effective. Knowing history's of the people in the church will assist the preacher in being able to present relevant material, or the audience will find it difficult to relate and be touched by the message. While it is important for ministers to have proper theology training most churchgoers have not been to Bible School and appreciate down to earth messages. In the following pages these statements and more will be discussed in order to discover what helps to achieve effective preaching and keep people listening.In today's church there are people who have their own distinct culture. Edgar Schein in an article titled Coming to a New Awareness of Organizational Culture defines culture as "the pattern of basic assumptions that a given group has invented, discovered or developed in learning to cope with its problems of external adaptation and internal integration, and that have worked well enough to be considered valid and, therefore, to be taught to new members as the correct way to perceive, think and feel." This will have an impact on the way people evaluate and act upon incoming information any preacher or speaker relates to them.In the church when a preacher shares there are two types of people listening. There are those already in a relationship with God (converted) and there are those who are searching for a relationship with God (unconverted). To be effective in preaching to both these groups the minister must take into account the language, style and presentation of the message being presented. To the unconverted who is searching for God the message needs to be easily understood without too much Christian jargon, yet the minister needs to still feed the converted and keep them satisfied. In Matthew 25:31-36 Jesus gives a picture of the converted as sheep and the unconverted as goats and the minister must be able to reach both groups to create a unified flock.In the church there are different age groups that the minister has to consider in order to effectively preach the Word of God. Different ages have different tastes and what might appeal to the sixty-five year old grandfather might seem totally irrelevant to the seventeen year old. Robinson (1999:32) suggests that, "a way to effectively connect with the audience is to sit six or seven specific flesh and blood people around...

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