The life of evangelical churches and their spiritual leaders has been portrayed in some recent films and series. Can they help us start conversations?
Evangelist Hélder Favarin gives insights into how to preach the gospel evangelistically in a secularized society. Sometimes preaching “sounds like a foreign language to non-Christians”.
Biblical preaching is not simply a matter of building up the church by instructing believers. It is a ministry of proclaiming what God has done in Christ.
Many times, the idea of preaching evangelistically can be daunting. How should we approach preaching the Bible to Christian and non-Christian audiences? How should the preacher approach the Scriptures in order to see transformation in the lives of those who hear?
Hélder Favarin is an evangelist, missionary, and founding pastor of the Capítulo 29 church in Granada (Spain). In an interview recorded for the European Leadership Forum in Wisla (Poland), he spoke about several ways in which preachers need to rethink their evangelistic preaching in Europe.
EVANGELISTIC PREACHING TO CHRISTIANS AND NON-CHRISTIANS
First of all, preachers “need to regain confidence in evangelistic preaching from the Scriptures, given by the Spirit, as a way that God uses to touch, to save, to change, to transform”, says Favarin, because “sometimes we lose the expectation that something is going to happen”.
Secondly, “we need to view our Christian gatherings as necessary platforms to preach evangelistically [...] That does not mean that we are not preaching to Christians, but that we preach to non-Christians from the same message”, Favarin says.
“Evangelistic preaching is able to identify how people think and view life. In light of that, it confronts people with the Word of God”. At the same time, “it has the potential of showing Christians why we believe what we believe, and equip them in their personal evangelism”.
“As preachers, we can prepare our sermons with non-Christians in mind. As we seek to study the Word deeply, we could also deeply study our culture”, the Brazilian pastor points out.
LANGUAGE AND VOCABULARY
Favarin recommends preachers to “be very careful with the language and the vocabulary we use as we preach. Our preaching sounds like a foreign language to people who are not part of a Christian community, and when they are around us, they feel as outsiders”.
“That does not mean that we should not use some vocabulary that is biblical for which we find no synonyms in our culture”, he says.
An example of this would be the word “sin”. “Sin is more than just a mistake, we should use the word, but it requires a definition, an explanation, otherwise people will not understand what I am talking about”.
According to Favarin, preachers “need to be intentional in applying apologetics to peaching. Apologetics is removing the rocks of the soil, so that the seed can be planted in a more fruitful soil”, he explains.
It helps us to “make people see what they do not see in terms of their worldview, and to question them in a way we remove those rocks, so that the seed of the Word can be planted”.
“All that is, of course, the work of the Spirit, but we should be intentional about it”, he adds.
That is is why “we should always start our preaching where people are. Studying Paul’s sermons in the book of Acts, I realize that whenever he was in a different context, he would preach the same gospel in different ways”.
“DEEPER AND MORE CHRIST-CENTERED PREACHING”
Favarin believes that “our evangelistic preaching in Europe needs to be deeper and more Christ-centered. I have the impression that some of our evangelistic preaching sometimes is very shallow”.
“We want to communicate ideas, and sometimes we just pick some verses that reinforce whatever we want to say”, the founder of Capitulo 29 church warns.
However, “rethinking how we preach the Bible evangelistically, means that preachers are able to take people into this journey of understanding the text in its context, and the bigger story, the biblical theology of the Bible, and connect that passage through Jesus. Therefore, Jesus will always be the climax of every message”.
“OPEN AND AUTHENTIC”
If we are to connect non-Christians through our preaching in our church meetings, “we should be very open, authentic, recognizing the presence of people who do not yet believe what Christians believe”, Favarin points out.
“That makes people comfortable, feeling that they can be there, they can be exposed to that content”, he concludes.
Watch the video interview below:
ABOUT HÉLDER FAVARIN
Hélder Favarin is an evangelist, missionary, and pastor. He is the founder of 180º Global/Festival 180º and the founding pastor of the church Capítulo 29 in Granada, Spain.
He is also a founding leader of RedTimoteo, a pioneer program for young evangelists in Spain. Hélder is part of OC Global Alliance, an interdenominational missionary organisation, and a member of the young leaders leadership team of the Spanish Evangelical Alliance.
He holds degrees in business administration and theology, has a master’s degree from the London School of Theology, and is currently working towards a Doctor of Ministry degree in preaching at the Talbot School of Theology, Biola University. He has worked for a number of companies before devoting himself to full-time evangelistic, missionary, and pastoral ministry in his early twenties.
Hélder was born in Brazil but also holds Italian nationality. He has lived in Brazil, Mexico, England, and Scotland, and he currently resides in Spain. Hélder is married to Ana, and they have four little children.