Whenever you preach you always preach into a certain context. Preaching is not just about declaring some words into a vacuum; it is about preaching to people who are in a certain situation with certain experiences and expectations. Contextualising your preaching is particularly important when you are required to preach in a situation you are unfamiliar with. If you do not make an effort to appropriately deliver your message into that context then you may well alienate your hearers.
Here are some thoughts on issues to think about:
- What will be the make-up of your congregation? Is it a specific age-group or mixed age range?
- How many do you expect to be there?
- Are they expecting an evangelistic message or a message more suited for the edifying of believers?
- How long are you expected to preach for?
- What version of the scriptures is normally read and preached from?
- What has been preached on recently in the church?
- Are you preaching at a special event or on a “normal” Sunday?
In considering these issues we are thinking about the whole principle of meeting people where they are. It is an outworking of the incarnational principle. As God in Christ came where people are so we do the same.. It is the principle of the Emmaus Road where the Lord listened to where the disconsolate two were at and then brought the Word to them.