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All Things to All People

A sermon full of generalities hits no one in particular.
— Haddon Robinson

While Grace Chapel in Lexington, Massachusetts, was without a pastor for over a year, I preached there often. The church is remarkably diverse, having Harvard professors and high school dropouts, doctors and lawyers as well as house cleaners, political activists and those who don't even read the newspaper, people with multimillion dollar investment portfolios and minimum-wage workers. In addition, members are of many races and colors.

I stood before such diversity each week amazed at the responsibility I had to reach them all. As I prepared my sermons, I stewed over how my sermon could reach the entire cross section.

As preachers, our task can be expressed simply: to become all things to all people. To actually do it is a formidable task.

Sobering Demands

When we fail to speak to the entire cross section in our churches, it is often because we act like the doctor who has only two answers; as long as a patient asks the ...

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