Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Preaching Mistake 3

This one should be more obvious and less controversial: Misusing humor.

This takes many forms:

  • Starting the sermon with a joke that is so funny that the listeners are still chuckling about it halfway through the sermon.
  • Telling a joke (funny or not) that is not germane to the point of the message.
  • Using humor to ridicule a person or a group of people.
  • Telling a joke that is not funny (because it is old, for example).
  • Telling a joke that requires special comedic skills that are beyond the ability of the preacher (impressions, for example).
  • Using humor for its own sake (without it contributing something substantial to the content of the sermon).
  • Using no humor at all.

Humor is an effective means of communication. But just like any tool, it can be misused. The preacher must stay focused on the purpose of the sermon and make sure that every part of the sermon serves that purpose.

Pastor Rod

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


daniel the smith said...

How about...

Using something that came to you in a chain email without checking it on snopes or something. I once heard the old "stolen kidney" story in a sermon-- and did you know you eat on average 8 spiders every night in your sleep? (you don't)

In the same category is misusing some scientific tidbit, either by misunderstanding it, misapplying it, or taking it as fact when it is preliminary.

I guess this would be the category of "not doing your homework", and the media is a big offender (e.g. look at articles on food and dieting studies for great examples of how not to interpret scientists) as well as many pastors...

Pastor Rod said...


Yes, that's a big one. It wasn't on my original list, but it belongs there. "Not doing your homework" would also include retelling stories from commentaries or other sermons without checking the sources.

Now with the Internet, it's easier to do the background work.