Here are five ways to ensure your Gospel message is understood so the enemy can’t snatch “the message of eternal life” from the minds and hearts of your hearers. This message applies equally to when you are speaking to a group or just one person.
“When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path.” Matthew 13:19
1. Don’t focus on what you’re teaching, focus on what they’re learning. Instead of being consumed with getting your message across, get feedback to ensure they are engaged. You’re not successful when you get through your outline, you’re successful when they understand the message, and sometimes those are two different things.
2. Don’t give the answer before they’ve asked the question. Utilise the first few minutes of your message to engage with your audience, throw out strategic questions, to get people thinking. To get them asking the right questions, only then will your answers be meaningful. The goal is to get people wanting to know the answer to the right questions.
3. Tell better stories and use testimonies. There’s a reason Jesus told so many stories. We’re wired for stories. If your message has all the facts but no compelling stories, you’re in danger of teaching for knowledge, not understanding. Stories help complex and deep truths penetrate the outer shell of our minds. Share your testimony, testimonies are powerful. It will be the linchpin of your message.
4. Create environments that foster an atmosphere for deeper learning. People need to feel welcomed, loved, accepted, comfortable in the physical environment you’re teaching in. Foster an atmosphere where people are open to deeper learning. Your reputation must be one of integrity.
5. Check the fruit. The easiest way to check whether you’re teaching for knowledge or understanding is to check the fruit. Are they following through with what you’re asking them to do? Are they living it out? If there’s no long-term fruit in your audience, you’re teaching for knowledge. Jesus himself said that when you teach for understanding, “this is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown” (Matthew 13:23).