Who Listens

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate June 2001

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The church is full of people from all walks of life who hear and interpret a preacher's message via their own understanding and experiences. Some listeners might be Italian, others Russian, some definitely Australian, whatever their nationality all have their own distinct culture and belief systems. It is the mission of the preacher to get beyond these cultures and regardless of whether a person is converted or unconverted, effectively preach the Word of God. Obstacles will be evident; some of these being age, listeners with habitual problems, well-educated people, blue-collar workers etc., and a preacher must take all this and more into account in order to be effective. Knowing history's of the people in the church will assist the preacher in being able to present relevant material, or the audience will find it difficult to relate and be touched by the message. While it is important for ministers to have proper theology training most churchgoers have not been to Bible School and appreciate down to earth messages.

In the following pages these statements and more will be discussed in order to discover what helps to achieve effective preaching and keep people listening.

In today's church there are people who have their own distinct culture. Edgar Schein in an article titled Coming to a New Awareness of Organizational Culture defines culture as "the pattern of basic assumptions that a given group has invented, discovered or developed in learning to cope with its problems of external adaptation and internal integration, and that have worked well enough to be considered valid and, therefore, to be taught to new members as the correct way to perceive, think and feel." This will have an impact on the way people evaluate and act upon incoming information any preacher or speaker relates to them.

In the church...