Monday, July 23, 2007

Preaching Blunder 6

It is a sin to bore people with the Gospel.

But many preachers confuse engaging their audiences with entertaining their audiences.

Entertainment is big business in North America. Movies, concerts and sporting events draw large crowds every week. Some of the highest paid individuals are entertainers (actors, musicians and athletes). Pop culture has enormous influence on the lives of most Americans (including preachers).

And so it is tempting to use the strategies and techniques of entertainment in the sermon.

There is also something seductive about applause. Having an audience "in the palm of your hand" is a powerful feeling. Telling a joke or funny story that connects produces a high that is addictive.

It is not easy for a preacher to tell the difference between engaging a congregation and entertaining an audience.

The purpose of the sermon is for people to know God. If people leave thinking that I am clever, smart or "hip," then the focus was on the wrong person. However, if they leave bored and disconnected, then I have probably proclaimed something that was neither good nor news.

So what do you think? Have you ever gone to a church service and thought you were at a taping of The Tonight Show?

Pastor Rod

"Helping You Become the Person God Created You to Be"


M. Pease said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
M. Pease said...

I've heard more boring sermons than entertaining, perhaps because I tend to get bored when the apparent objective is to be entertaining rather than uplifting.

Worse than those, however, are the "Hellfire & Brimstone" sermons, which cause me to hope that you have "threatening people with the Gospel" on your list somewhere too.

P.s. I couldn't resist correcting a typo.

Pastor Rod said...


No, that's one that wasn't on my list. It should be. How does anyone turn "the Good News" into a bludgeon?

I've sat through my share of boring sermons as well. I think I preferred the hellfire & brimstone sermons to the boring ones. At least they were engaging.


jeff franczak said...

Those loveable Peanuts children, on confusion about an audience...

Sally: I’ve been watching an exciting football game..the congregation is going wild…

Charlie Brown: Football games have fans..churches have congregations..concerts have audiences…

Charlie Brown: Courtrooms have spectators..riots have mobs and accidents have onlookers.

Sally: The congregation just tore down the goal posts!

Pastor Rod said...


I like that.


Peg said...

Hi Rod,

Pleased to post an update on our little Bible study group. I used two of your pointers this week: one, to make the size of the readings manageable; and two, to focus on who Jesus is, directing attention to His character.


First off, with the shorter reading we stayed pretty much on time and on focus. And second, the discussion was LIVELY!

I found it interesting though when I asked the group directly "how would you describe Jesus' character after reading this passage?" (we were on John 2) they all got very quiet... as if it was a question they had never considered before. Took them awhile to begin to put it into words. It's a question I'll have to ask (in different ways) more often!

Anyway a long way of saying 'thanks' and keep on blogging!

-- Peg

Pastor Rod said...


I'm glad to hear that someone has found this helpful. I appreciate the encouragement.