Wednesday, March 25, 2009

An Audience of One

Studies show that one of the greatest fears people have is that of public speaking. It is universal. For me, there is nothing more exciting, humbling, enjoyable, and sometimes frightening, than standing up in a room full of people to teach from the Bible. I get to do this every weekend in the best church in the world.

When I am teaching from God’s Word each Sunday I have at least three audiences:

1. Outsiders. Every Sunday is someone’s first Sunday. In that crowd of hundreds of people there are unbelievers, the irreligious, and those who have not yet embraced Christ. To them the Bible is a closed book – and not part of their world. But they are in the service, meaning their heart must be beginning to open up to the things of God. And I have the amazing privilege of preaching the gospel to people who may be hearing this stuff for the very first time… it’s like planting seed in fertile ground. The thrill factor for me is off the chart when I see this happening.

2. Insiders. Then there are the regular PCCers in the audience. These are people who have embraced Christ, and keep coming back week after week because they love their church. As growing believers, they are looking for something to help them know God deeper, follower God better, and hear from God clearer. They need strong meat to grow.

3. God. God is most important listener in audience. As such I have to always be sure that I am handling God’s Word skillfully, and not misrepresenting Him in any way. James chapter 1 says that people should not rush to be preachers/teachers of God’s Word because we will be judged more harshly than others – something I have always been mindful of my entire ministry. That’s a warning for anyone who teaches God’s Word. My most important critic is not the Monday morning blogger, but God Himself. At the end of the day, above and beyond everyone else, He is the One I have to please. In that sense, I’m talking to an audience of One.

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