Want To Reach The Unchurched Talk, Don't Preach

Want To Reach The Unchurched? Talk, Don’t Preach

Thomas CostelloChurch Leadership Leave a Comment

It’s a difficult strategy to understand. After all, members come to services every week to gather and listen to sermons.

Since that’s such a staple in the church, how could not preaching be an effective way to reach the unchurched? Consider this. Is preaching bringing the unchurched in currently?

It takes more than sermons to persuade the unchurched to visit. Church might be a foreign concept to them, which means the first step is to simply talk to them.

Preaching Leads To A Negative Connotation

It’s far too common for preaching to talk more about what people do wrong and how they fail than praising successes. For the unchurched, they just associate preaching with something negative. In their eyes, they already have all they need to be successful in life, even if going to church isn’t one of those things.

In order to change this stereotype, church leaders and members need to sit down and have conversations with the unchurched. Make the message more positive and relevant versus simply focusing on the fact that the unchurched need to build a relationship with God.

Church Should Be About Building Relationships

Yes, your church wants to help the unchurched find their way. However, no one wants to visit a church only to be preached at. One of the best parts of being a member of a church is building lasting relationships. Show the unchurched the value of relationships by first talking to them and gradually building a rapport. They’re more likely to attend church after they’ve built a trusting relationship with existing members.

The Unchurched Value Conversation

Believe it or not, the unchurched aren’t opposed to talking about Jesus. They’re just not interested in having it forced on them. Preaching tends to come off as more forceful. Sitting down and having a real conversation is less intimidating and gives the unchurched a chance to ask serious questions.

Consider having a session after services for new visitors to meet and talk with a few church members or leaders. This could even be a special group specifically for the unchurched to come by and learn more about religion and your church.

Churches Must First Understand The Unchurched

It’s easy to make assumptions about the unchurched. They may not have any background when it comes to religion or they might have attended church regularly just a decade earlier. Pastors often assume everyone in attendance knows at least something about the Bible. So, instead of feeling included, those who aren’t all that familiar may feel left out during sermons.

Instead of preaching at them, talk to them. Explain things without even being asked. Assume no one has any real background. It makes preaching sound more conversational and includes everyone, including the unchurched.

Sometimes Preaching Is Too Bold

Obviously, you want to sound confident when it comes to preaching a sermon. After all, if you’re questioning what you’re saying, how will anyone else believe you? However, to reach the unchurched, you have to watch your tone carefully.

The unchurched, even the non-believers, are still open to conversation. They’re just not interested in bold sermons that demand they do this or that. In most cases, churches that stick to bold sermons only experience growth by pulling from other churches.

Tone matters. You don’t have to speak as if you’re talking to children. Instead, speak as if you’re talking to friends. You’re there to educate but in a friendly way. Be open to questions and even preach with questions in mind. This creates a more welcoming environment and helps the unchurched have a more open mind.

The Unchurched Often Don’t Know Jesus

The unchurched are not always going to be Christians, even though some are. It’s important to keep this in mind. For someone who isn’t a Christian, why would they be interested in hearing someone preach? It’d be the same as attending a class in your least favorite subject without any real reason to go.

Instead, start with conversations. Members can talk to them and open up discussions. Once again, consider have special meetings just to reach the unchurched. Instead of preaching, everyone openly discusses faith. You could even have Q&A sessions on social media or your website to reach those who aren’t able to visit the church. By opening up a conversation, the unchurched may eventually learn what religion means to them, leading them to church.

Do you need help to reach the unchurched? Start with an engaging church website with the unchurched in mind. 


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