It is the time of year when I begin planning my sermon series for the next 18 months. Whenever I start this process, I ask an essential question, “What do the people I lead need to hear the most?” To adequately answer that question, I must evaluate what I see in the lives of the people in my congregations. Here are five observations of the people in my Church, and I think they reflect the greater Christian community I have experienced in the United States.
- People are Busier Than Ever. A full schedule is the new normal everywhere, including rural communities. I think that there is a two-fold problem that the Church needs to address. First is to teach people the downside of their busyness. Second is to show them the value of using their time wisely and especially for God’s kingdom.
- In a World Where People Have Tools to Connect More, They Actually Connect Less. Loneliness is becoming an epidemic in modern culture. Men appear to be struggling with this the most. There are several reasons for this, but the more significant issue is how to get all people to develop healthy relationships.
- Children Are a Huge Priority, but Teens are Not. This one is becoming more and more pronounced the longer I work with teens. Have an event for little kids like VBS, and you can pack the house. Host an activity for teenagers and expect very little parent participation and a handful of teens. Parents are deeply invested in the lives of those children fifth grade and under and have little clue of the struggle’s teens are facing, and even worse, they are rarely being addressed.
- Men Are Getting Spiritually Weaker. The divide between men and women in their faith seems to be growing wider. Once again, I think there are several reasons for this, but the solution is the bigger question. How do we get men to take their spiritual life seriously? Those who are trying to walk in faith need to be encouraged to lead in their home, Church, and community.
- There Are More Available Resources, Yet People Know Less. There is an ever-increasing need to teach people the Bible. Not only do people have little Bible knowledge, but much of what they have is inaccurate or incomplete. How do the Church and its leadership help develop more and better disciples?
These are some of the things I am noticing that are shaping the culture of the community in which I live. Is there anything you would add to my list? These concepts will develop my upcoming sermons and leadership through 2020. How are they molding your life and family today?