Thursday, April 02, 2009

How do you preach in a Postmodern World?

How do you preach in a Postmodern World?

To begin with
Know your audience. Some churches seem not yet to be postmodern. Yet like it or not the members inhabit the postmodern world.
Have confidence in your Bible. God’s word is alive.
Dip your toes in the world your congregation inhabits. Read the Sun occasionally; 10 million people a day do.
Don’t try too hard to compete with the world. In a high-tech world, low-tech works. The sales staff of postmodernism care more about products than people. We shouldn’t.
Look at Paul’s example of preaching in a strange culture (Acts 17:16-34).

Some negatives
Don’t assume you know what questions your audience is asking.
Don’t assume a background of Bible knowledge; not everyone knows the stories of David and Goliath, or Noah and the flood these days.
Don’t show off your knowledge of the postmodern world until you have one.
Don’t look for the key to the scriptures outside scripture.
For each new Bible passage ask yourself, ‘What seems odd to me?’

Some positives
Use visual aids to help your listeners remember the most important 5%.
Write your conclusion first. This is where you want to leave your audience.
For each of your main points try and have a story, a picture and a question.
Love God’s word and love his people; pastor and teacher are linked in the New Testament (Ephesians 4:11).

Some useful resources
Preaching to a Postmodern World
A Guide to reaching twenty-first century listeners
Graham Johnston
IVP 2001

When God’s Word is Heard
Essays on preaching presented to Dick Lucas
Ed. Christopher Green and David Jackman
IVP 1995

Connect Bible Studies
What does the Bible say about…
Various authors

Scripture Union
Studies available on Harry Potter, the Matrix, superheroes, football, U2, Destiny’s Child and many more. Also available as a download from
A web-site for people who don’t go to church any more. Read why.
Mike Riddell is a theology tutor in new Zealand with lots to say about being human and being church. Start from his home-page and browse his world.

1 comment:

Caroline Too said...

Preaching in a postmodern world?


engage in a conversation instead!

(ok, so I know that sounds twee, but it is a crucial aspect)

Be very careful that when you describe something as being 'postmodern' you don't actually mean that it's consumerist... there is a difference that I think is often missed. eg

me-ism is nothing to do with postmodernism, it's a consumerist consequence

I would suggest that you don't try to make points, rather seek to relate with, resonate with, provoke,

focus on action, relationship and growth rather than truth, facts or agreement