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preaching to people who aren’t there

When I grew up, our church (and many other churches) still had Sunday night services.  I can remember — on more than one occasion — hearing messages on Sunday nights emphasizing the importance of church attendance.  Even back then, that struck me as odd.  I remember thinking, “These aren’t the people who need to hear this message.”

As preachers, we can be guilty of preaching to the choir — too often.  Whether it’s only addressing “in-house” topics or using language only an insider would understand, we may fail to preach to those who aren’t there.

But, you might ask, why should we preach to people who aren’t there?  After all, they aren’t there to hear what you have to say.

Here are a few good reasons:

  • It reminds your congregation that there are missing people.
  • It gives them confidence that you know how to address their unbelieving friends.
  • It helps build and maintain an outward focus for the church.

If you only preach to the people who are there, you may be communicating that you don’t expect those who aren’t there to ever show up.

What do you think?