Robinson suggests that there comes a point in a sermon, at least in a good sermon, when the listener loses track of all the people around them. Before, the preacher was one of us, representing us before God, but now there is a shift so that the preacher is representing God to me individually. There is a point at which “we” language can effectively give way to “you” language. There is that need for each individual to make personal application of the sermon.
If we shift too early, we run the risk of coming across as full of ourselves. We can offend people by our personal presence in the presentation.
If we shift too late or not at all, we run the risk of falling short of making the call of Scripture on the lives of God’s people.
There is no set point. It depends on the sermon, on the speaker, on the listeners, on the setting. But we undermine our ministry by neglecting either “we” or “you” language, or by failing to evaluate when the shift can and should occur.
One thought on “Shifting From We to You”
Interesting concept Peter. Thanks for sharing. I’ve always looked at this transition as one that comes from knowing your audience and experience. When I first started preaching, I was so in a hurry to get to that point, I forgot to connect with the listeners and the application really didn’t matter to them. Only when hearts were prepared and then the transition made, could we see God getting through to them. Thank goodness for patience from God for us!