How To Deliver An Effective Talk That Engages Unchurched People

0a86157Have you ever went to watch a movie and arrived late. My wife and I always seem to arrive late when we go to the movies. I always have tons of questions about the movie since I missed the beginning. I feel lost while all of those who have been at the movie since the beginning know exactly what is going on.

I am afraid that the unchurched feel this way when they attend our churches.

The reason many churches struggle to be attractive to the unchurched is because so many pastors are delivering talks that only engage church people. Everything that seems to be said from the stage is for the insiders and not the outsiders.

Therefore, when outsiders attend, they feel disengaged, lost, and as a result do not plan to go back to your church.

So, how can we craft talks that engage unchurched people? I want to share just a few thoughts for speakers that can help you with engaging the unchurched.

1. Consider The Unchurched In Your Preparation Time

We must assume that unchurched people are in our congregations each weekend. If you do not speak as if they are there, they never will be

Unchurched people are different today than they were 50 years ago. They will not attend something that they feel lost, uncomfortable, or disengaged at. We must engage them, and you must consider them when you prepare your talk.

You should consider unchurched people in the preparation of every talk that you give. Write your sermon considering the unchurched who will be in your audience. One mentor suggested to me that I should speak my message to an unchurched person to get their perspective before I deliver the message to the congregation.

Speak to them from the stage. Address them.

If your talk is prepared for insiders only and you don’t ever address outsiders, don’t expect unchurched people to return to your church.

2. Craft Your Talk Around One Single Point

If you are expecting people to remember ten things, they likely will not remember anything.

When people leave your church on Sunday, they should be able to state your big idea in one tweetable statement. If they cannot do this, I would suggest that maybe the message was not delivered effectively.

Speakers that theme their talk around one big idea create messages that people remember.

Isn’t that the goal?

If you want your talk’s to be remembered by an unchurched person, craft it around one simple big idea.

3. Create A Strong Introduction

This is the point in the talk where you have to grab the attention of the unchurched.

Andy Stanley does this best. He creates an introduction that provides some form of tension in the heart of every person in the audience.

Make your introduction light and engaging. If your introduction is reading 15 verses of an Old Testament passage, you will likely lose the unchurched. That is a delivery that engages the insiders.

Talks that engage unchurched people usually start with a story or something that the unchurched can relate to at the opening so that you have them when you get into the Gospel content (the meat of the message).

4. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare

If I have learned one thing about unchurched people, it would be that they appreciate those who know what they are talking about.

Unchurched people expect someone on stage to be prepared. They can tell when someone is unprepared.

If you are preparing your talk on Saturday night to deliver it Sunday morning, I bet your talks are not attracting many unchurched people. This is a safe assumption.

You cannot prepare a talk for unchurched people on Saturday night or Sunday morning.

Be prepared and you will likely engage more unchurched people.

5. Communicate A Clear Action Step In Your Conclusion

One reason so many unchurched people do not respond at the end of our talks is because they do not know where to go.

Be clear with your action step. What do you want them to do with what they just heard?

Know, practice, and prepare for the action step. Your response time should be thought out as if every person would be responding for the first time.

Our response times (invitations) are foreign to unchurched people. They do not know where to go or what to do. You need to communicate this clearly from the stage.

Give them clear action steps.

So, what are you doing to engage lost people in your weekend services? I think it would be helpful if every church started to rethink their weekend services to evaluate what they appear like to unchurched people. 

What would you add to this list so that we can be more effective in our weekend services from a delivery standpoint. 



Published by Josh Evans

Josh is the connections pastor of the Oakleaf campus of Trinity Baptist Church in Jacksonville, FL. Before that, Josh had been a mentor and pastor to students for 10 years. Josh is passionate about empowering church leaders to make a difference. Josh and his wife Abby have two children. You can connect further with Josh on this blog or send him a direct email at

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