I was recently talking with a new church planter about sermon prep and delivery. He kept telling me that he didn’t worry about what his congregation thought about the sermon because he was “preaching for an audience of One”. I didn’t really say anything to him about it at the time, but I couldn’t shake how stupid a phrase it was. As pastors we don’t preach for an audience of One…we preach for hundreds or thousand…about the One. We don’t preach to illicit some kind of personal response from God to our own individual need…we preach so that the Gospel of Jesus Christ can go forth into the world for the purpose of salvation.
At best pastors can only hope to plant seed with our sermons and pray that the Holy Spirit will help it take root to grow. With that hope also comes the responsibility that we need to be preaching in a way in which ears will hear and hearts will be moved. We can’t ignore the thoughts of the audience…I know they can’t be the final controlling factor…but their thoughts should carry some weight when it comes to relevance and delivery. Jesus used relevant analogies, descriptive illustrations and thought-provoking questions to convey the Truth. He was aware of His audience and aware that He needed to speak to them on a level they could understand…and on a level that caused them to want to hear. Preachers, should our manner of sharing the Truth’s of God’s Word be any different? If the Son of God was aware of His audience…shouldn’t we be preaching to audience of many…instead of just One?