Preaching To Your Demographic?

miraclecureToday we live in an era that attacks the very idea of preaching to everybody. Our “church growth” consultants tell us to tailor our theology, worship, programs, and our community in general to a particular segment of the society that we will reach. We may gear our message to the youth, while our sisters and brothers in the other church across town gears theirs to middle aged.

Then after having done that, we must preach the message that will “reach” that group. They tell us that this is the way to relevance. This is the way to being growth. We look at the society, stick our fingers up in the air, and alter our community to be in line with the society. In reality this doesn’t sound all that new. It sounds like the recipe for propping up the status-quo. If you are in a community of racists, you must be careful not to offend or rock the boat. That might stand in the way of your influence on that group. If you find yourself in the community of sexists, don’t speak on that subject, your demographic doesn’t want to hear that!

Yes, the road to relevance seems to be the road to preaching messages that ruffle no feathers and at the same time brings the house down as you shout about an irrelevant god. Shout about millions of guaranteed financial and physical blessing that turns God into a Ponzi Scheme with the pastor at the top of the pyramid, or a miracle cure that never fails.

The real question is can we be true to our calling while simply preaching “to a certain segment?” Can we be true ministers of the gospel, yes even prophets of the most High, while preaching a message that our demographic wants to hear?

Will we preach the truth and allow the truth to cut knowing that it will heal after the cutting, or will we simply continue to apply salve to a wound that has healed years ago?

No…No….No…Let the truth go forth. Let the truth speak. Let it speak in its pure form. Let it speak to everyone. Yes preach forgiveness…but also preach righteounseness and peace. Yes preach heaven in the bye and bye…but also preach our responsibility to the least of these. and by all means, don’t ask a marketing consultant if the message is in line with your latest demographic study…preach the word, preach the truth!

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Sherman Haywood Cox II is the director of Soul Preaching. He holds the M.Div with an emphasis in Homiletics and a M.S. in Computer Science.

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Revised Common Lectionary
5th Sunday of Lent (February 26, 2017)
  • OT: Ezekiel 37:1-14
  • Psalm: Psalm 130
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  • Gospel: John 11:1-45
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