If we’re going to lead people who are far from God towards Jesus, we have to bust their stereotypes. This begins with understanding their mindset.
Do you know what an unchurched non-Christian thinks of you, pastor?
- You’re out of touch
- You’re judgmental
- You have a political agenda
- You believe in fairy tales: the world was created in seven days, a boat saved all the animals from a flood, a whale swallowed a prophet, a talking donkey, and guys who walked on water
- You’re just out to convert me and get my money
You don’t view yourself this way because you know yourself. But you probably have specific types of people that you view through a stereotypical lens.
That’s how unchurched unbelievers view you.
So how do you build a bridge from you to them—a bridge that they will actually walk across? If you want to give them truth and lead them to Jesus, you have to bust their stereotypes.
Let me make sure you realize this: If an unchurched person shows up at your church, and you stand up to preach, he or she is NOT thinking, “Oh good, here’s the dispenser of Bible truth. I hope he or she is a good expositor of the Word!”
They’re thinking, “Who is this person? Do I like him or her? Could I hang out with them?”
Those are the first questions you want to answer.
If they answer with a YES, then they’ll open up to you, and that will give you an opportunity to dispense Bible truth to them. That will give you lots of opportunities to teach them the Word.
So be yourself. Talk like you talk. Use normal words.
Using humor is another way you can bust stereotypes. You may not be a “funny” person, but you can always…
- Show a funny video or picture
- Brainstorm humor with a funny friend before you speak
- Interview a funny person
- Make fun of yourself
When you incorporate humor, unchurched people think, “He or she is a real person. I could hang out with them.”
It’s especially important at the top of your sermon. This is when unchurched people still have their arms crossed.
Start with a story or a joke.
If you’re preaching on marriage, start with a funny marriage joke. Or read the difference between what you found when you Googled “questions for married couples” and “questions for a first date.” You could do the same thing to highlight the difference between men and women.
Better yet, start with an embarrassing story from your own marriage (get your spouse’s permission ahead of time, please).
Let the Bible bring humor.
If you’re reading a Bible passage and there’s something funny in it, let it be funny. For example, if you’re reading the story of Samson in Judges and you come across this passage in chapter 16, “So Delilah said to Samson, “Tell me the secret of your great strength and how you can be tied up and subdued.” Samson answered her, “If anyone ties me with seven fresh thongs…” Yep, you can just pause there. You don’t even have to say a word.
Much more on this subject coming your way in the next couple days.
We have an event this Wednesday that’s all about preaching in a way that reaches more unchurched people. Peek behind the curtain with Perry Noble and Jeff Henderson to see how they approached unchurched visitors in their sermons.
It’s a free event. Sign up here: Preach2Reach.org