Editor’s note: While this is written with the teaching pastor in mind, we think lessons for reaching the unchurched matter just as much to reach the unchurched youth who might come into your student ministry meetings.
Have you ever gone to watch a movie and arrived late? My wife and I always seem to arrive late when we go to the movies. I always have tons of questions about the movie since I missed the beginning. I feel lost while all of those who have been at the movie since the beginning know exactly what is going on.
I am afraid that the unchurched feel this way when they attend our churches.
The reason many churches struggle to be attractive to the unchurched is because so many pastors are delivering talks that only engage church people. Everything that seems to be said from the stage is for the insiders and not the outsiders.
Therefore, when outsiders attend, they feel disengaged, lost and as a result do not plan to go back to your church.
So, how can we craft talks that engage unchurched people? I want to share just a few thoughts for speakers that can help you with engaging the unchurched.
1. Consider the Unchurched in Your Preparation Time
We must assume that unchurched people are in our congregations each weekend. If you do not speak as if they are there, they never will be.
Unchurched people are different today than they were 50 years ago. They will not attend something where they feel lost, uncomfortable or disengaged. We must engage them, and you must consider them when you prepare your talk.
You should consider unchurched people in the preparation of every talk that you give. Write your sermon considering the unchurched who will be in your audience. One mentor suggested to me that I should speak my message to an unchurched person to get their perspective before I deliver the message to the congregation.
Speak to them from the stage. Address them.
If your talk is prepared for insiders only and you don’t ever address outsiders, don’t expect unchurched people to return to your church.
2. Craft Your Talk Around One Single Point
If you are expecting people to remember 10 things, they likely will not remember anything.
When people leave your church on Sunday, they should be able to state your big idea in one tweetable statement. If they cannot do this, I would suggest that maybe the message was not delivered effectively.
Speakers that theme their talk around one big idea create messages that people remember.
Isn’t that the goal?
If you want your talks to be remembered by an unchurched person, craft it around one simple big idea.