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So What?

September 11, 2012 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Sixteen years ago, in June of 1996, I began my first assignment in ministry, as the summer Youth Programs Coordinator at South United Methodist of Manchester. I had absolutely no clue what I was doing, and I’m quite sure that none of those kids remember much of what I had to say. But as I fumbled around in my attempts to get through to a bunch of distracted teens with glazed-over eyes, I found that there was one question that was absolutely essential to answer:

So what?

In other words, I could expertly unpack a passage of Scripture or give the most rousing inspirational talk, but in the end, if I did not answer the “So What?” question, there would be no life change in my audience; my words would not penetrate their heart. And so, as I constructed my messages, I often came back to that question. So What? Why does this matter? What difference does this make in my life? If I could not answer that question, I could almost guarantee that the teens to whom I spoke would forget whatever it was I was trying to say.

Even though I mostly preach to adults now, the question is still a critical one. I have found that it is not just the truth that it is important, but the implications of that truth that are important.

“Jesus died for you.” So what? Why does this matter? What difference does this make in my life?

“God loves you.” So what? Why does this matter? What difference does this make in my life?

“There is a world of hurting people out there.” So what? Why does this matter? What difference does this make in my life?

If you are a communicator, or find yourself trying to convince someone of the beauty of the gospel or the importance of some great truth, take time to answer the So What? question for your audience. And if you are finding that your time spent reading the Bible or listening to sermons is dry and meaningless, consider dwelling on the So What? question and thinking through the implications of the truth you are reading or hearing.

Jesus died for you. So what?

  • So a way has been opened to know God and to have His power at work in your life. So what? So there is no problem too big, no hurdle too difficult, no struggle that can not be overcome by His power working in and through you. So what? So live courageously!
  • So death will not be only a cruel ending but a glorious beginning of everlasting bliss. So what? So live without fear, and rejoice knowing that one day your pain and struggle will be no more!
  • So when you were at your worst, God still loved you so much that He died for you. So what? So you can know for sure that nothing can ever separate you from His love. So what? So you do not have to live with fear or guilt any more, or hide who you really are, because every last part of you has been forgiven and loved!
  • So you have been adopted into God’s family as His child. So what? So you have a perfect Father who loves you, and brothers and sisters all over the world to whom you are connected. So what? So rejoice that every good thing the Father has He delights to share with His children, and if you do not get what you want, it is because He is good and knows what you really need!

I could go on, but I hope you are starting to understand the importance of answering the So What? question. After all, teenagers aren’t the only ones who need to truly understand on a heart level why God’s truths and promises are so beautiful and transformative.

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