We (West Auckland Community Church) had the first part of our preaching training course last night with Kate Bruce (CODEC, St Johns College, Durham). I am looking forward to the other 4 days yet to come. We covered quite a few areas in this huge arena of preaching. One of the main themes that came out for me was thinking about the audience and do we use language in a way that is relevant to our audience. This got me thinking about accessibility and how easy or hard it is for people to engage with what we are putting out there. Can we as Christian's use language that really doesn't have any meaning for our audience or at worst turns people off to what we are trying to say? It's completely understandable, since our language and what we have to say is influenced by our experiences and our faith. This really sets a challenge for us in our ministry and not just in a preaching ministry, but others. The people we are attempting reach, may not have the same experiences. We therefore run the risk of alienating individuals or creating a situation where only Christians would feel comfortable and able to participate in what we have to say.
I just want to leave you with this image. Imagine someone who has been brought to 'rock bottom' by the experiences in their life, with their head low, would they hear God's Love in what you said? Is what you are saying accessible to them or a load of words that only the harden church goer would understand? That's what challenged me on the first day of the preaching course.