Jump directly to the Content

If You Want to Reach Skeptics, Start Your Sermon Preparation with Distress

Paul’s model for preaching with a missional edge.
If You Want to Reach Skeptics, Start Your Sermon Preparation with Distress
Image: Hannah Busing / Unsplash

Where does the sermon begin? I am all too familiar with the uneasy staring contest we preachers so often have with our blank screens—cursor blinking, taunting us to write something meaningful. But nothing comes. We’ve studied the text and done the exegetical work. We’ve prayed, pondered, and wondered. We’ve read the commentaries. And yet we somehow find ourselves back in our familiar place—blank screen, blinking cursor, at a loss.

There’s a story in Acts 17 that’s not usually thought of as a preaching story, because a whole lot more is going on in the narrative. But it is in fact—at least in part—a story about preaching. It’s right there in the text: “Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection” (v. 18).

The apostle finds himself in Athens, an influential city in the first century, full of aesthetic splendor and intellectual fervor. As he waits there for Silas and Timothy, the cultural and spiritual ...

January/February
Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

From the Magazine
Why Are There So Many Angry Theologians?
Why Are There So Many Angry Theologians?
Theology should produce the fruit of the Spirit, not the works of the flesh.
Editor's Pick
Come Ye Pastors, Heavy Laden
Come Ye Pastors, Heavy Laden
Learning to walk under the weight of ministry's many hats.
close