Are sermons really where significant spiritual messages are transferred any more? I have been struggling with that question for more than a year. I can only remember a handful of sermons from the hundreds that I have heard in my life.
But just because I can’t remember many sermons, does that mean the content in them is lost to me? Or is it there in the deep recesses of my mind. Does it resurface when I really need it? How do those words and ideas impact my worldview?
I think that many sermons go in one year and out the other. This may not always be the fault of the speaker or even the listener. It may be the attitude that we take based on our preconceived notion of what a sermon is. The way sermons are structured and our attitudes toward them could make it difficult to really engage with the content.
Christians must purpose to struggle with the concepts and challenges unearthed in any sermon. We should strive to find preachers that we can connect with and understand. And we should do whatever it takes to remember a sermon long after the words were spoken. This may include taking notes of key concepts or making a habit of reviewing thoughts from a sermon a few days later.
Why do so many Christians treat the sermon as the pinnacle of a church service? Maybe this attitude has caused us to miss the personal significance of a sermon. If we don’t try to struggle with the message, why do we take time to listen?
Mars Hill Church in Seattle recently started a sermon series based on questions that were proposed by the congregation. This approach was modeled after what the apostle Paul did in his epistles where he would directly respond to real-world concerns of local churches.
Provide real connection with the audience, Mars Hill has prepared teachings on a topic. Also, it is doing something very unique during this sermons series. Pastor Mark Driscoll, the primary preacher at Mars Hill, will get up and take life questions that are sent in by the audience using text messaging. These questions are pre-screened although Driscoll does not know what the question is until it comes up on a screen. He then responds to the issue on the spot. It is pretty cool to see interactivity like this in a church setting.
Check it out at www.marshillchurch.org
What are some of your thoughts on the effectiveness of sermons? What are some of the sermons that have impacted you the most and why?