(Photo: R12 Conference)
Pastors Mark Driscoll and Andy Stanley stressed the importance of preaching a sermon that carries a "sensitivity to the lost" while advising pastors on how to deliver better sermons during a web seminar hosted by The Rocket Company on Wednesday.
Mark Driscoll, founder and senior pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Wash., and author of the bestselling book Real Marriage, said that he thoroughly enjoys angling the "hard truth of the Bible" to those lost and struggling with their faith because he did not find a relationship with God until he was 19-years-old. "I remember what it's like to be lost," Driscoll told the "Preach Better Sermons" conference's host, Jeff Henderson, lead pastor of Gwinnett Church in Duluth, Ga.
"The whole point [of Christianity] is God is making room for more," Driscoll said, adding that we as Christians are "on a mission to see more people become God's people."
Driscoll went on to say that the most effective way to communicate to those who are lost in their religion, or those who are undecided, is to be culturally relevant and shed theologized language. "If you use too much theologized language you will lose lost people," the megachurch pastor said, adding that church leaders will "lose [their] 'evangelical thrust'" if they rely on Bible college lingo "because people don't know what you're talking about."
Andy Stanley, senior pastor of North Point Community Church and bestselling author, said during the seminar that not only should the sermon be angled to the lost, but the preacher should also give nonbelievers permission to not believe in God. "We need to give non-church people the permission to not believe and not obey," Stanley told Henderson, saying that he believes giving nonbelievers permission is an advantage, because then they will be more motivated to find God on their own.
"When you give them an out, but dare them to try it at home, they will," Stanley said.
Stanley also connected communication with nonbelievers to the importance of tension in one's sermon, which an accomplished communicator can tease out of the Scripture's text. "I spend a lot of time trying to uncover the energy in the text. Where's the tension? Where's the resolution to the tension?"
"When you find the tension and surface it in the text, that's the best," Stanley said, adding that if pastors don't do that, "I think we've failed as communicators."
Pastors Driscoll and Stanley were a part of a dynamic group of evangelical leaders advising preachers on how to deliver a better sermon on behalf of The Rocket Company's "Preach Better Sermons" web seminar, which aired on the company's website on Wednesday.
Pastors Steven Furtick, Louie Giglio, and Dr. Crawford Loritts were among others who spoke during Wednesday's web seminar, as well as popular authors Nancy Duarte and Donald Miller.