Fifteen years ago, Preaching published an interview with Bill Self (Nov-Dec 1988) in which he talked about "preaching to Joe Secular." Since then he has moved to another congregation and led that church to a new location in the affluent northern suburbs of Atlanta. In a new interview in the current issue, Bill explains what today's 'Joe Secular' looks like: "They're very interested in getting religious services delivered as you would get lawn services or household services. They're very concerned about 'please serve me, what's in it for me?' and they don't trust churches. They don't have the facility to really test out doctrine, and since they don't know doctrine they don't trust churches. Then they read stuff in the paper that increases their anxiety. We have had people who have placed their children in our nursery for worship service, then get up and go back to the nursery to check on the child two or three times during the service because they don't know if the worker is going to take care of the child. One of them went to the worker the second visit back to the nursery and said, "Can you tell me which child is mine?" I mean, they don't understand a thing about churches. "Also they're very immediate. There is no patience with their processing of the gospel or processing of ideas. It's 'say it and understand it or I won't use it because it's not immediately usable.' They know more about movies, television, and the general media than they know about the gospel. They know every movie that's out there. Most of them have three car garages full of adult toys. They have boats, all kinds of bicycles, skateboards. You can drive through our neighborhood and see that third garage over there full of all these toys they've bought. That's a secular influence. They wouldn't dare be caught without the latest indulgence, fad, toy or whatever. Their children are the same way . . . "Their worldview can be very selfish. If the Bible helps me fine, but show me where it helps me. Why do I need it? They have no history. Anything that happened before 1985 they are not aware of. Before 1985 the world is flat and everybody is just sort of jumbled up out there. You can't refer to "as Spurgeon said" — if I use a quote from Spurgeon and give him credit for it, I have to explain with two sentences who Charles Spurgeon was. If I quote any piece of literature that was written before 1985 or wasn't on their college reading list I have to put in a sentence or two about who that was. Any biblical reference I have to do that."

source: PreachingToday email tags: Preaching, Mission