Saturday, August 27, 2011


At left, Billy Sunday

Two friends and I were having lunch yesterday and got talking about our "spiritual gifts." These are friends who are both Christians and good public speakers, and we got to talking about sermons. We started thinking about whether the 30-45 minute soliloquy as sermon is outliving its usefulness and effectiveness. It is outliving its appeal with many. And we got to talking about the purpose of the sermon. I won't get into all that, but from my own perspective, an important purpose of the sermon broadly should be to draw people closer to God, and to one another.

Now, don't get me wrong. I have been enriched by sermons in my lifetime. I estimate that I have probably listened to sermons, on Sunday mornings alone, for about 1,365 hours (roughly two straight months if that's all you did and did not sleep or eat). I particularly like sermons by Rob Bell and Tony Campolo.  However, when it comes down to things I've heard that have drawn me closer to God and others, there's not a lot I remember from church sermons.

That led our lunch club to consider "preaching" as a flexible and adaptable aspect of communication. Much more of what I have learned about growing closer to God and others has been in conversations with friends, from books, from blogs, in brief to-the-point presentations which then led to dialogue, and of course, from living examples.

In other words, Christians with the "gift of preaching" have so many ways to do it these days. Jesus didn't have the internet, but if you look at his life as recorded in the Gospels, and how he communicated and impacted the lives of those around him, he certainly was not limited to the monologue.

1 comment:

Steve F. said...

Tremendous post, Steve. Those two guys are very fortunate to have you as their friend.