Trevin Wax on Preaching to Non-Believers….
There is one thing Stanley and Keller agree on: preachers ought to be mindful of the unbelievers in their congregation.
Different Reasons for the Same Practice
Stanley and Keller may be worlds apart in terms of their theological vision for ministry, but they both maintain that a preacher should consider the unsaved, unchurched people in attendance.
This doesn’t mean we can’t find differences even in this area. For example, Stanley uses the terminology of “churched” and “unchurched” (which makes sense in the South), whereas Keller’s context leads him to terms like “believers” and “non-believers.”
Likewise, Stanley and Keller engage in similar practices from different vantage points. Stanley’s purpose for the weekend service is to create an atmosphere unchurched people love to attend. Keller believes evangelism and edification go together because believers and unbelievers alike need the gospel. He writes:
“Don’t just preach to your congregation for spiritual growth, assuming that everyone in attendance is a Christian; and don’t just preach the gospel evangelistically, thinking that Christians cannot grow from it. Evangelize as you edify, and edify as you evangelize.”
Whether you are closer to Stanley’s paradigm for ministry or Keller’s, you can benefit from a few suggestions for how to engage the lost people listening to you preach.
You can read the rest of the blog here.
However, if you don’t like links – here are the main points:
1. Acknowledge and welcome the non-believers in attendance.
2. Assume the non-believers in attendance need help in approaching the Bible.
3. Challenge non-believers to engage the Bible by acknowledging the oddity of Christian belief and practice.
4. Use cultural commonalities to point out worldview inconsistencies.