Mike Myatt in his book Hacking Leadership: The 11 Gaps Every Business Needs to Close and the Secrets to Closing Them Quickly said:
You’ll never understand people until you know what motivates them.
The implications for this on pastors and their sermons are enormous.
I think one of the reasons lives aren’t changed from a sermon is that many pastors do not get at what motivates people. They stand on stage, expound the bible, give a great commentary book report, tell them what the Bible says and then sit down.
Now, before you leave a comment saying, “The holy spirit changes lives, not the preacher.” I wholeheartedly agree. This often gives pastors an out from actually working on their task or doing the hard work during the week before preaching.
Think on this for a minute, “Why should anyone care about what you are preaching on?” Because it is in the Bible? If that’s your answer, you will need to do better than that in our day and age. For our culture, because something is in the bible is a deterrent. I’m not saying that’s right, I’m saying that is how it is. If you can’t tell people on a Sunday morning why they should care about what you are preaching on, they will have little reason to listen.
Think of it another way, “What does this passage answer in my life?” This is just another way or getting at the caring question, but it also poses another thing for pastors: this helps you know that you know your audience because you know the questions they have, the struggles they face, the concerns, addictions, negative emotions, past issues and sins they are walking through at that moment so you can confidently say, “You are struggling with _____, you are having a hard time believing _____ and this passage shows us why Jesus is truer and better.”
Most pastors usually jump to “Jesus is truer and better” without showing those listening, “I know what you think is truer and better.” If people don’t believe we know what they think is truer and better, when we get to Jesus they won’t believe us that He is truer and better because we haven’t shown them that we know what drives them or how to move them.