Lesson 8




Upon completion of this chapter you will be able to:

C Define "audience analysis".

C Explain the importance of audience analysis.

C Summarize steps for audience analysis.

C Summarize characteristics of various age groups.


But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because He knew all men.

And needed not that any should testify of man: for He knew what was in man. (John 2:24-25)


Before you begin to teach it is important to analyze your audience, set objectives, and plan the lesson . This lesson explains how to analyze the audience . The following two chapters concern setting objectives and lesson planning .


The "audience" is the group of people you will teach. To "analyze" something is to study it in detail , to carefully examine its characteristics , to study the parts of a whole . To
analyze an audience means to carefully study the characteristics of a group of people you plan to teach.


Analyzing an audience is important because learning is affected by many factors which include language, education, culture, physical abilities, spiritual maturity , sex , marital status , social and economic level, personal needs, and age.

If you do not analyze the audience you may be teaching above or below their educational level and/or their level of spiritual maturity . You may not use a language they
understand. You may not relate lessons to their social and economic level or to their
personal needs .

You cannot know everything about every person in the audience. But you can think

about what the majority of your audience is like and ask the Holy Spirit to help you meet their specific needs.

Jesus understood His audience . He knew His listener’s customs and lifestyle because He was one of them. Jesus also had divine knowledge of their needs:

But Jesus did not commit Himself unto them, because He knew all men.

And needed not that any should testify of man: for He knew what was in man. (John 2:24-25)

God can show you things about an audience but you can also develop some practical skills to help you in this area. The Apostle Paul did this:

But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other

Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee; of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question. (Acts 23:6)

When Paul ministered to Jews, He emphasized His Jewish background. When he spoke to Romans and other nationalities, he changed his approach. Paul knew the importance of analyzing his audience, speaking to them in their own language, and using an approach with which they could identify:

But Paul said, I am a man which am a Jew of Tarsus, …and I beseech thee, suffer me to speak unto the people…

And when they heard that he spake in the Hebrew tongue to them, they kept the more silence, and he saith…(Acts 21:39 and 22:2)


Here are some steps to help you analyze an audience you plan to teach:

1. Pray for God to reveal to you their spiritual, emotional, mental, physical, and

material needs:

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally and upbraidith not: and it shall be given him. (James 1:5)

2. We are told to covet [seek] spiritual gifts (I Corinthians 12:31). Ask God for the
spiritual gifts of word of wisdom and word of knowledge. These gifts provide
divine knowledge into people and their problems combined with a word of wisdom
to help them. The gift of discerning of spirits is also helpful. (For further study of
these spiritual gifts , see the Harvestime International Institute course,
"Ministry Of
The Holy Spirit").

3. Observe and associate with your students. You will learn much by watching and
being with them. Read the Gospels and note how Jesus observed the behavior of
His own disciples and how this affected His teaching.

4. If you are ministering in a nation different than your own, learn all you can about
the people by asking questions, observing, and reading books about the culture.

5. If possible , visit the homes of your students. You will learn much by viewing

their personal environment.

6. If you are ministering to children, get to know their parents. Ask the parents
about special needs of the children and work with the parents in these areas.

7. Use the guide for audience analysis provided in the remainder of this lesson.


Use this guide to analyze your audience. Learning is affected by the following factors:


The student must understand the language in which the lesson is taught . Otherwise, a translator must be used.

Analyze Your Audience:

-Do they speak the same language you do?

-Are there those in the audience who do not speak your language? If so, a translator will be needed.


The difficulty of the lesson must be adjusted to the educational level of the majority of the audience. Some students have had formal schooling and others have not. Some are slow learners and others learn rapidly.

Analyze Your Audience:

-What is the general educational level of the students? Are they illiterate, primary, secondary, or college level?

-Do you have students with educational problems? If so , what are they and how will you deal with them ?


Culture affects the learning process. The teacher must use examples understood in the

culture . Culture affects how we think and how we perceive the world around us. People learn best when lessons are related to their environment. Culture determines appropriate response. For example, some cultures are very unemotional. Others are emotional. How students respond to the Gospel is often affected by their culture.

In some cultures it is not acceptable for a woman to teach a man or a man to teach a

woman. Other cultures require teachers to receive approval of an elder or tribal leader

before teaching. You may need to adjust your style of dress or appearance to be accepted.

It is important to understand and work within the culture , as far as possible, as long as it does not violate Scriptural principles or compromise the presentation of the Gospel

Analyze Your Audience:

-What cultures are represented?

-In what ways will the culture affect your method of teaching? -How will the culture affect the application of your lesson? -In what way will culture affect the response from students?

-Will you need to adjust your style of teaching or appearance to be accepted in this culture ?


Physical abilities can affect learning . For example, a teacher of students who cannot hear or see will have to adjust their methods of instruction.

Analyze Your Audience:

-Move those with vision and hearing problems to the front. -Make sure visual aids are large enough to be seen.
-Use an interpreter for the deaf [sign language], if possible.

-You may need to arrange special assistance for those with other physical handicaps. -Minister God’s healing power to them .


Your audience can consist of unbelievers, new believers, mature believers or a mixture of all three . Paul warns that some people are not ready for "the meat of the Word" [deeper spiritual truths ]. People must be fed "the milk" of the Word [basic truths] before moving on to deeper Biblical subjects (I Corinthians 3 :1-2).

Analyze Your Audience:

-Will it be mostly unbelievers? This would probably be true in an open air meeting or city-wide crusade. Your message should target unbelievers.

-Is the audience mostly new believers? If so , they will need instruction in basic principles of faith .

-Will it be mostly believers? This might be true of a retreat or special meeting open only to church members. But never assume everyone is a believer. Always give opportunity for people to repent and accept Jesus as Savior.

-What do you know about their spiritual level of maturity?


Whether an audience is all male or all female or mixed sexes can affect teaching. For

example, a lesson on the Biblical responsibility of husbands to love their wives would be more appropriate for a male audience than a female audience.

Analyze Your Audience:

-Will it be all male?
-Will it be all female?
-Will it be mixed sexes?


Married couples have different problems and needs than do single people, divorced, and widowed . People with children face some challenges that childless couples do not.

Analyze Your Audience:

Analyze your audience to determine how many are:


-Married with children

-Married without children
-Widowed with children
-Widowed without children

-Divorced and not remarried, raising children alone -Divorced and not remarried, no children
-Divorced and remarried, no children
-Divorced and remarried with children


Adjust your teaching to the economic and social level represented by a majority of the
audience. Jesus ministered differently to the woman at the well (John 4) than He did to Nicodemus (John 3). The woman was of a lower economic class. Nicodemus was from the upper class.

Paul said we must be willing to adjust in order to communicate the Gospel:

…I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. (I Corinthians 9:22) (See also verses 19-21).

Analyze Your Audience:

-What is the general economic level? Are they upper class, middle class, lower class? Do they have great financial needs?

-What are the occupations? Students, ministry, business and professional workers, retired , housewives, laborers, unemployed?

-Where do they live? Cities, villages, remote areas, poor areas, middle or upper class areas. Are they migrant [move frequently]? Are they homeless?


It is important to know the physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, and material needs of an audience. This is important in gaining attention , application and in calling for response.

Analyze Your Audience:

Here are some common human needs and problems: -Spiritual Needs:


-Assurance of salvation
-Water baptism

-Baptism of the Holy Spirit
-Healing and deliverance

-Spiritual maturity : For example, gifts of the Spirit, fruits of the Spirit , knowing God’s will, dealing with life crises , dealing with temptation, warfare, prayer, being spiritually reproductive, etc.

-Emotional Needs:



-Depression and discouragement


-Anger, temper , other disposition problems -Hatred



-Financial Needs:

-Insufficient money to meet basic needs -Needs employment

-Physical Needs:


-Weight problems

-Appearance problems

-Special Problems:


-Suicide tendencies




-Demon oppression/possession
-Grief/dealing with death

-Gossip, complaining, cursing, profanity -False cults

-Bad habits and practices
-Training of children


The content and difficulty of a lesson must be adjusted to the age level of the students .
Attention span and ability to learn varies from age to age. People who have studied how
people grow and develop mentally, physically, socially, and spiritually have identified
various characteristics for different age groups. These characteristics or qualities are
general traits that apply to students in a certain age group. The qualities may differ from culture to culture:

Ages 2-3:

A. Physically:

1. Imitates; likes to help .

2. On the move; needs both physical activity and rest periods.

3. Has low endurance , a sensitive nervous system .

4. Likes to handle things; is very curious.

5. Likes rhythm and rhyme.

6. Cannot co-ordinate smaller muscles. Large muscles are developing.

7. Grows and learns as he plays.

B. Mentally:

1. Is imaginative.

2. Attention span, 3 to 4 minutes.

3. Likes the familiar and repetition.

4. Has limited vocabulary; likes simple stories.

5. Learns through senses of seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, tasting.

6. Interrupts stories; can sing easy songs.

7. Absorbs details.

8. Believes what he is told.

9. Does not learn well by direct exhortation.

10. Is developing an individual personality.

11. Is sensitive to other’s emotions.

C. Socially:

1. Is timid, afraid of crowds.

2. Has imaginary fears.

3. Needs individual attention.

4. Plays alone. Must learn to play with others.

5. Is selfish ; has to learn to share and help .

6. Likes to play stories, act out parts.

7. Is an imitator.

8. Needs consistent discipline.

9. Tires easily ; is upset by confusion.

10. Desires to please parents or teacher.

11. Needs love, understanding, and security.

D. Spiritually :

1. Is able to understand how to thank and please God; that the Bible is God’s

Book; that the church is God’s house.

2. Thinks of God as a real and loving person.

3. Learns of God through nature and common experiences in which God is


4. Needs to feel that his teacher and God love him .

5. When properly taught, trustfully depends on the Lord.

6. Prays when motivated emotionally.

7. Learns to give because he loves Jesus.

Ages 4-5:

A. Physically:

1. Is capable of more self-care.

2. Can dress himself.

3. Likes physical activity.

4. Talks a lot.

5. May have temper tantrums.

6. Muscles still developing.

7. Has slight physical endurance.

B. Mentally:

1. Can take a program that is not too varied.

2. Has an attention span of about 10 minutes.

3. Imagination is good.

4. Understands little about time and space.

5. Easily aroused to love and sympathy.

6. Increasing in mental ability.

7. Realistic

8. Can memorize short verses.

9. Ready to meet new emotional and intellectual experiences.

C. Socially:

1. Ready to meet new social experiences.

2. Good at certain play skills.

3. Growing in ability to get along with others.

4. Likes to play games involving co-operation.

5. Better disciplined.

6. Self-centered; needs practice in sharing and giving.

7. Growing in friendliness.

8. Developing leadership qualities.

9. Loves intensely and desires to please.

10. Likes to act out or play the stories.

D. Spiritually :

1. Can sincerely worship the Lord; can be led to appreciate God through His

wonders in nature.

2. Speaks of the Lord in a personal way.

3. Understands that God loves and cares for him .

4. Knows that willful disobedience is sin.

5. Can learn the reality of God’s presence, concern, guidance, provision,

wisdom .

6. Is naturally trustful , but must be taught to trust and obey the Lord.

Ages 6-8:

A. Physically:

1. Rate of growth slows down.

2. Has sudden bursts of energy.

3. Tires easily .

4. Needs varied activities.

5. Needs to learn to finish what he starts.

6. Likes to handle objects.

B. Mentally:

1. Excitable and sympathetic.

2. Likes special affection and guidance.

3. Imaginative, reasoning.

4. Learns through the senses, experience, and words.

5. Likes Bible stories that show God’s power.

6. Likes to solve mental problems verbally.

7. Learns to choose.

8. Memorizes words easier than thoughts.

9. Begins to appreciate geographical and historical backgrounds.

C. Socially:

1. Grows under praise for right actions.

2. Needs practice in helpfulness, kindness, co-operation, unselfishness,


3. Imitates adults and wants adult approval.

4. Enjoys stories about children his own age.

5. Sometimes rebellious; tells tall tales.

6. Prefers non-competitive group activities.

7. Chooses friends; changes best friend often.

D. Spiritually :

1. Profits by spiritually mature examples.

2. Able to realize God’s love and forgiveness.

3. Learns reverence by precept and example.

4. Often is ready to accept Christ as Savior.

5. Can learn to pray and live for Jesus.

6. Can solve problems by going to the Bible.

7. Needs to be taught to confess sin promptly.

8. Is curious about death.

9. Likes action and missionary stories.

Ages 9-11:

A. Physically:

1. Is in healthiest state of life .

2. Is active and exuberant.

3. Growing in independence.

4. Is not too tidy .

5. Likes outdoor activities.

6. Grows moderately.

B. Mentally:

1. Can use Bible to find references and solutions to problems; also maps and


2. Has good memorizing ability; is alert and critical of own work.

3. Is developing concepts of time and space.

4. Is interested in problems.

5. Is eager for information; is active.

6. Has many interests; can write poems, stories.

7. Is creative if you give him your time, interest, and understanding.

8. Likes to check own progress.

9. Is interested in nature and courageous people.

10. Has increased power of concentration.

C. Socially:

1. Can be encouraged to have high standards.

2. Interested in fairness.

3. Likes to participate in class.

4. Prefers own pals; dislikes opposite sex.

5. Has group loyalty.

6. Admires leaders.

7. Should be taught respect for authority.

8. Is less shy than when younger.

D. Spiritually :

1. Ready for salvation.

2. Responds to teaching on growing in Christ.

3. Can understand doctrinal truths.

4. Needs encouragement on daily devotions.

5. Can be interested in winning those in own family and neighborhood.

Ages 12-14:

A. Physically:

1. Grows fast and unevenly.

2. Girls mature earlier than boys.

3. Embarrassed by clumsiness which is caused by uneven growth.

4. Spurts of energy and slumps of fatigue.

5. Often most difficult period of life.

B. Mentally:

1. Has keener mind; can memorize well if interest is aroused.

2. Has strong sense of humor.

3. Daydreams, fancying himself a hero.

4. Over-responds emotionally.

5. Wants to make own life-decisions.

6. Is sensitive, frank, subject to extreme moods, critical, rebellious.

C. Socially:

1. May transfer loyalty from home to school, teacher, or some person he


2. Follows the crowd.

3. Hungers for "experiences"; puts on front of indifference.

4. Dreads being considered childish; tries to act adult.

5. Beginning to be attracted to opposite sex.

6. Craves to be important, win friends and be one of the gang.

D. Spiritually :

1. Looks to older young people for leadership.

2. Is in questioning stage.

3. Must recognize need of a Savior and have assurance of salvation.

4. Needs guidance.

Ages 15-18:

A. Physically:

1. Outgrowing their physical awkwardness.

2. Forming and stabilizing physical habits.

3. Care about their personal appearance.

4. Are attracted to the opposite sex.

B. Mentally:

1. Have developed reasoning powers.

2. Remembers ideas more often than words.

3. Idealistic and often creative .

4. Controls imagination with reason and judgment.

C. Socially:

1. Likes organization and leadership responsibility.

2. Wants to belong to a group.

3. Desires the approval of others their own age.

4. Wonder about the future.

5. Have an increased desire to help others.

6. Struggles to control their emotions.

7. Looks for thrills.

8. Prone to be moody.

9. Rebels against authority.

10. Longs for security.

D. Spiritually :

1. Often have doubts about spiritual things.

2. Responds quickly to emotional appeals.

3. Wants a personal, active Christianity that "works."


A. Physically:

Physically adults have reached maturity in size and stature. They have the physical
ability to sit still longer than young children. Older adults may struggle with health
problems more than younger adults. Adults may be concerned about their physical
appearance and abilities if they do not conform to what is considered normal in their

B. Mentally:

Mental abilities, attitudes and values have been firmly instilled . Adults are more "set in

their ways" and it is harder for them to change. Generally, it seems to grow more difficult to learn new things as age increases. Attention span is better in adults than children .
They can take a longer lesson and a more varied approach. Most adults have a good
understanding of their language and culture. Most adults prefer learning concepts to
memorizing facts.

C. Socially:

Most adults have usually settled in a certain social and economic level. The majority of their friends will usually be from the same level. Some may be struggling to improve their social and economic status. Most have chosen or will shortly choose their mates .

D. Spiritually :

Adults need spiritual guidance in major life decisions such as marriage, ministry, higher education, and occupational choices. They also need guidance in couple and family

Believers need further instruction in spiritual maturity and to become actively involved in the ministry of the church. They need to discover and use their spiritual gifts .
Unbelievers need to hear the Gospel and be brought to salvation.