What's the difference between felt needs and real needs in preaching?
Good preaching speaks to both, but people are often talked into felt needs that bypass their real needs. Advertisers, for example, create false desires to sell their products. The distinction needs to be made when people have a felt need that isn't their real need.
C. S. Lewis wrote that our sinful lusts are really misplaced attempts to answer deeper needs. The Scriptures do not speak to superficial needs—they speak to the deep-seated ones. Those are the needs we're going after. I don't disdain preaching to a felt need, but we always want to go after the real need.
How do you reach the real need?
Our task is to come to the text, to understand at a profound level what need it's speaking to, and then help the listener get in touch with that need. Let the text determine what the real need is, and surface it in the introduction.
If you elevate a person's real need to the level of felt needs, and ...1