"Nearly 50% of all marriages in America fail! Today we are going to look..."
"God's plan is that your marriage succeed. Today we are going to look..."
Which opening line do you think is best? Which do you think will be the most inspiring?
Too often we want to scare people into a decision, or we think we are warning them about somthing. We think by using negative or "scary" tactics that people are going to hear us. Unfortunately, we use the negative far too much. We think we are really "giving it" to our hearers, when we are really pushing them away from our essential message.
Here is an experiment for you. Go to Sermoncentral.com and take a look at a random sampling of the different sermons. How many offer a positive view of things? How many start with or emphasize the negative?
There is a time and place for people to be "scared" or sense the depth of the negative, but preaching should not reflect the alarmist nature of the 6 o'clock news. As pastors, we are to bring the Gospel which means "good news." We should look to put a positive spin on things as much as possible. By positive I do not mean preaching that is shiny, happy, and avoids the tough things in life.
I am convinced that many people avoid church because they are tired of feeling beat up all the time. Take a few moments to re-think how to present things in a positive way. When I first made the discovery of how negative preaching had become, I went back and evaluated my sermons. 95%, or more, of the time my preaching focused on the negative.
Remember, we are in the business of sharing God's Good News that He loves them, wants a relationship with them, and did everything possible to provide salvation for us! Now that is good news!