Tim Keller on Preaching to a Mixed Audience

Posted on  by Daniel L. Sonnenberg

I appreciate the work of Pastor Tim Keller at Redeemer Presbyterian in downtown Manhattan in New York City. Over the past twenty years he has brought the Gospel to bear on a generation of mostly professionals who are now corporately seeking to renew the city “socially, spiritually and culturally.”
An excerpt from his blog on preaching to a mixed audience of Christians and non-Christians…
“When, in the early days of my ministry in NYC, I heard how expository and theological Lloyd-Jones’ evangelistic preaching was, and how evangelistic and gospel-centered his edificatory preaching was, it was an epiphany for me… Non-believers, especially in New York City, did not simply want light fare designed exclusively for them. They really wanted to know how this Christianity “worked.” Lloyd-Jones’ kind of preaching, which used the gospel to grow Christians and evangelize non-believers simultaneously, was the answer…”
“Gradually I developed a preaching ministry based on similar concepts of the nature of edification, evangelism, and the gospel. (I’ve written more on this subject in an article called Evangelistic Worship.) This in no way means I am copying their style of preaching. I am, of course, a Baby Boomer American. That means tones, emotional expressiveness, approaches to humor, uses of illustrations—are all widely divergent. But the basic philosophy of how to use the gospel is the same. I urge my readers to consider embracing it. That in no way requires that you try to copy my personal style either. It does require you, as a preacher, to understand and apply the gospel to the hearts of every listener every time.”

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