I am a pastor who is passionately concerned with communicating in such a way so as to be effective to my congregation. As a former professor of mine used to say, “The Gospel will offend people, but let’s not let anything that we do offend them.” In other words, make sure your communication style is such so that it doesn’t offend people and turn them away from hearing before they have the chance to hear the Gospel. Too many churches in our convention are guilty of just such behavior. Having said that, I am also concerned with a number of churches that, in an attempt to be relevant, seem to occasionally push the envelope too far. In doing so, they’re just as guilty as those who don’t concern themselves at all with their communication style. In both cases their method of communication overshadows their message and prohibits the message of the Gospel from being heard.
A church in Tennessee seems to be guilty of just such behavior. Church @ the Gathering is in the middle of a sermon series that highlights marital intimacy. In an effort to increase support they sent out a series of mailers that highlighted the upcoming series. The problem is that the language is a bit risky for some families to receive in the mail and this effort to communicate by the church has closed opportunities for the Gospel to be distributed.
Thinking about this experience has caused me to ask myself again, just how should we go about communicating our message? There is no doubt that the message has to be delivered in a manner which is most effective at reaching our audience. At the same time, our method cannot overshadow our message and disrupt any opportunity to hear the message. So what about in your case? Those who read the blog and are preachers, do have examples that you have personally had to struggle with? What about those of you who aren’t preachers but who listen regularly to preaching. Can you think of examples that you have struggled with?