Preach AT People, Not Merely TO Them!


This was a message that I recently received from a woman on My Facebook:

I have been watching you for a few hours now, it’s about 1am. You are good! You have scripture to back up every truth you speak! I admire your audaciousness and I am hoping I can be as bold and fervent for Christ in a public setting!! Praise God for you! May I make a “suggestion”. I think if you say “we” instead of “you” Jesus came not to condemn us but to save us! because I know you try real hard, as do I, but “we” are not Jesus. “we” are striving for perfection but will not arrive there until Our Father takes us home! So maybe, brother in Christ, you might get a few more converts for Jesus if you were not so condemning of others.

I answered:

Hi ________,

I am glad that you are watching the videos and have enjoyed them. I appreciate your kind word and your gentle critique. The reason I say “you” instead of “we” a lot is because when you are involved in open air preaching, you have to be sharp, pointy, and personal if you are going to get anyones attention. I say things like, “you” or “you people” deliberately and intentionally. It captivates their attention and hooks them in. An open air preacher will rarely get any audience at all if he only preaches to people – he needs to preach at them. That is what I read in the open air sermons of the prophets, Jesus, and the Apostles. Look at how John the Baptist preached to king Herod.

These are some biblical examples:

Mat 14:4 – For John said unto him, It is not lawful for THEE to have her.

Jas 4:8 – Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, YE sinners; and purify your hearts, YE double minded.

Act 13:10 – And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, THOU child of the devil, THOU enemy of all righteousness, wilt THOU not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?

Act 2:36 – Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom YE have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

Act 7:51-53 – YE stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, YE do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do YE. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom YE have been now the betrayers and murderers: Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.”

Notice how these were very personal and pointy and aimed directly at people. Now if you preach like these men did in the Bible, you will get the same response. In Acts 2:37 it says they were pricked in their hearts and were converted. But in Acts 7:54 it says they were pricked in their hearts and stoned Stephen. As Wesley said, when you preach men should either get angry or get converted. I believe that if we preach like the men in the Bible did, we will have biblical results.

God Bless,

Jesse Morrell

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2 Responses to Preach AT People, Not Merely TO Them!

  1. Preaching “we” in the way she wants would completely destroy your testimony and undermine the power of the gospel, plus alleviate the power of conviction upon the sinner.

  2. You must be personal and pointy in your preaching if your going to bring any conviction to the hearer.

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