Preaching the Gospel in the 20s
The gospel is unchanging. In every time, every place and for every person, the gospel is the power of God for salvation. And yet times, places and people do change, and sometimes, in light of these changes, we have to find new ways to communicate the gospel.
The changes in Western culture over the past few decades have been huge. The dominant culture is no longer significantly shaped by Christian beliefs. A majority of those who aren’t followers of Jesus have absolutely no understanding of real Christian belief. They are not the dechurched (with some past church or Christian experience) but the unchurched (with no past church or Christian experience). They are not atheists influenced by Dawkins. Many are actually very spiritual; they may believe in God or some concept of the divine and are probably quite open to ideas about the supernatural. They are less likely to be radical rationalists who are happy with the idea that life is meaningless and are likely to be interested in the big questions of life.
These are all generalisations of course, but I think they are true enough to say that the context in which God has placed us to preach the gospel is somewhat different to that of a few decades ago where we were pushing back against new atheism but could usually assume some level of Christian preunderstanding and a concept of guilt and sin.
How do we preach the gospel in this context? I think one approach is to show how the gospel can answer the questions people are already asking. There are certain questions that are just human – almost all of us will ask them at some point. There are others that are linked to the particular preoccupations of our time and place.
I recently attempted to tackle two of these questions in a way that might connect with those who are not yet followers of Jesus. My hope was to show how the Christian answers to these questions make more sense, are more beautiful and more life-giving than the secular alternatives, and then to share the gospel in the key of each question (all in under 20 mins). I don’t claim that they are perfect, but I found the exercise of tackling the questions with this aim really helpful. Maybe you will too.
Question 1: Why on earth am I here?
I think this is a human question, something all of us will ask at some point in our lives, or at very least it’s a question that we can all agree it is worth asking.
Question 2: How can I be true to myself?
This is a question that is particularly prominent in our day and age, especially among younger generations.