Prepping a message for Sunday morning takes a lot of study; a huge part of being a pastor who preaches most weeks is having a good handle on the Bible and faithfully communicating what it says. While many pastors study the Bible, it’s easy to forget to study the people we’re speaking to—the ones who are hearing what we have to say on Sunday. If we fail to consider our audience, the message won’t reach the minds and hearts of those who hear it, no matter how much we prepared during the week. Here are 10 people you need to remember that you’re preaching to on Sunday:
This person is usually not a follower of Jesus, and she’ll never believe you without good reason. If you assert something as true, she won’t give you the benefit of the doubt. Showing why something is true is as important as preaching the truth with this person.
This person loves your church. His kids enjoy the children’s ministry, and when there’s a good event, he and his wife make sure to attend. But this person needs to be challenged and stretched. He probably has been around enough to possess a good deal of knowledge; the trick is convincing him to get off his behind and do something.
The “I’ll Give Church a Second Chance” Person
This person had a bad church experience in her past, but she’s been convinced to try it again. She doesn’t care what you teach—she only wants to know if she can trust your community. Make sure you validate her experience and give her a good reason why she should give your imperfect Christ-centered community a chance to love her.
The Sunday Single Mom
This woman is married, but you never see her husband because he’s “not into all that religious stuff.” Help her lovingly allow Christ to shine in her home. Extra credit: Create an irresistible environment at your church so that when her husband does show up, he’ll find that church isn’t quite what he expected.
The Hungry Listener
This person comes ready to listen and is willing to put into practice whatever you tell him to. It may feel like this person is rare in your church, but when you wonder if hours of sermon preparation are worth it, remember that someone is hungry for insight from God’s Word.
Teenagers are smarter than you think, so you don’t need to dumb down the content of your message. But you do need to engage them before they’ll listen; so don’t just lecture, tell a story.
The End-of-Their-Rope Person
This person has had a rough night, a long week or perhaps even a tragic life. He’s at the brink and praying to find a reason to hope when he walks through your doors on Sunday.
This person may have a few more letters after her name than you, or perhaps even more seminary degrees than you. Give her a practical next step to take so that she can be a doer of the word and not just a hearer.
The First-Time Guest
This person was invited to church by one of your members, and he may not be very familiar with church. Drop the insider lingo, Christian-ese and inside jokes, or he’ll think he’s not cut out for this whole church thing.
Staff and Key Volunteers
You have the ear of the people you work with and your most dedicated volunteer leaders for roughly 30 minutes each week. Don’t waste the opportunity to cast vision and encourage them to take the hill with you.
Who else are you preaching to on Sunday?