How to Preach to People’s Needs

Our mission of “Welcoming all persons to experience and share the extraordinary grace and love of Jesus the Christ” is central to our being and doing as a congregation. I go a step further with those who attend CH 101 and say that we have two charisms which accompany our mission. The charisms are those “special giftings” that further explain the importance of the mission. These charisms were identified early on by communications professionals who were assisting us with our “branding.” After several interviews of lay leadership, they said it was obvious to them we have two charisms which further define the uniqueness of Chapel Hill: healing and teaching.

I can tell you as the founding pastor, the moment the specialists named healing and teaching I agreed completely. We seek to be a safe place for people to heal from the wounds of their lives: spiritually, emotionally, and relationally. We also strive, by God’s grace, to be a teaching congregation. We want to learn from Jesus how to live, how to die, and how to live and reign with Jesus in the heavenly realm.

All of this was brought home to me in a fresh way when I read the following….

In 1956 pastoral counselor Edgar Jackson wrote a little volume called How To Preach To People’s Needs.

Through his research he had discovered that members of the average congregation — those sitting in the pews — were facing the following issues:

– 20% struggle with an acute sense of loss.
– 33% have serious marital problems.
– 50% are having trouble adjusting to major life-change.
– 10% are dealing with depression.
– 20% are overcome with guilt or fear.

Sixty-two years later, do you think those numbers are higher, or lower?

Let’s not forget, there is unspoken pain in every gathering of God’s people. Only the boldest message of hope can break through the darkness in their lives. Our mission and our distinctive charisms are essential for all people in our day and age.

So let’s preach, teach, and model hope. Powerful, Biblical, grace-based hope. In every way, in every day, in every place, for the sake of the mission of helping all people experience and share the extraordinary grace and love of Jesus!

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