Here are six questions I like to ask when writing a sermon to include everyone in the room:
1. What do I want the audience to eventually believe?
2. What does the audience currently believe?
3. Does my sermon idea have any Christian beliefs assumed?
4. How can I structure my message to build to beliefs rather than assume they exist?
5. If there are unavoidable assumptions, how can I help everyone understand the assumption and not disengage because of the assumption?
6. How can I ensure my internal assumptions don’t sneak into the message while I’m preaching the message?
Over time, this kind of thinking becomes natural, and developing content with this in mind will become not only easier, but way more fruitful for everyone in your audience. Of course, we can just continue preaching and ignoring our assumptions, but if we hope to reach those without Christian beliefs, we can’t afford to preach with assumptions that include those beliefs.
In the end, building a sermon based on your belief assumptions is cheap and easy. Everyone can do that, but not everyone is willing to dig deeper and build to beliefs rather than assume they exist. That’s better preaching. And that’s actually what Jesus displayed over and over again.
This article originally appeared here, and is used by permission.