Paul did something fairly remarkable when he spoke to the men of Athens: he found common ground. Surprisingly, he did not start by expositing the Bible; he started by connecting with the people who were interested in hearing what he had to say. I think this is an important concept to consider as we think about the church and the way we connect with people. Are we finding common ground when we teach from God's Word, or is it completely incomprehensible by those listening? Certainly the Holy Spirit has to also be added to the equation, but Paul didn't make apologies to the Christians around for making reference to the gods of Athens before making reference to the God of the universe. Increasingly in our culture we need to seek to find common ground with people before assuming comprehending that they "get" it all. Will they get it all after finding the common ground? Probably not, but they will be one step closer. Do you find common ground with people you come into contact with? It really requires us to be experts of people: to know their desires, their needs, their families, their jobs, etc. Ultimately, however it opens the door to sharing the most important message they could ever hear.
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Seth is a pastor, author, and speaker who lives in Batesville, Indiana. He is married to Kari, and they have two daughters, Madelyn and Noelle.