How do we preach toward good evangelistic engagement? If, as many younger evangelicals of the gospel-centered persuasion believe, we aren’t to turn our Sunday service into a seeker-targeted evangelistic event, in what sense might the sermon time fuel the missional impulse in our churches to reach and serve the lost? Here are some practical ways to serve this end:
1. Put the text in the context of God’s mission.
There is a mega-narrative to the Bible, a grand story of God’s redeeming purposes and spiritual mission in the earth, and many times we miss this in our preaching and teaching. Helping your hearers make the connection between the narrative you are preaching and the big story of God’s mission can help them begin to see their own story in the context of the big story of God’s mission. Making regular, explicit application of biblical texts to their missional contexts or missional implications helps influence hearers, over time, to see and think in missional ways.
2. Make application mission-oriented.
Rather than turning the application time in your preaching into only (or even mostly) individualistic steps to address personal “felt needs,” make the practical admonitions others-directed. Help people see that applying the Scriptures to their everyday life is not mostly about living their best life now but about loving and serving others, especially those they encounter at work, school, and neighborhood “third places.”