A simple way to improve application in preaching

lifeA little while ago I heard Gordon MacDonald talk about preaching and application to people at different stages in life. Having an awareness of the unique struggles and pressures that come with these various stages can help us apply our teaching in much more helpful ways. He outlines his ‘questions of the decades’ as follows:

  • Teens – who am I? Really? I don’t want to be a clone of my parents; I want to be my own person with my own contribution to make – but what?
  • Twenties – so what do I do with my life – what counts, what matters, who will I do it with?
  • Thirties – How do I manage my life? How do I pay the bills? How do I satisfy the expectations of my boss/wife/kids etc? So many responsibilities, so little time.
  • Forties – how do I deal with success? Or failure? Things have turned out better/worse than I hoped – how do I live purposefully in that?
  • Fifties – what do I need to change to have a satisfying second half of life?
  • Sixties – what’s my legacy? What have I done that will count or last?
  • Seventies – what do I do now? Do people even remember who or what I was?
  • Eighties – I’m tired. How do I deal with the ‘d’ word?

Of course there’s much more that could be said but I think this is a helpful little check-list for preachers when thinking about their application. Print it out, stick it on the wall by your desk and start to really think and pray through your application.


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