What Do You Want from a Sermon?

Jason Micheli —  January 29, 2015 — 2 Comments

lightstock_35237_small_user_2741517David Lose, author of Confessing Jesus Christ: Preaching in a Postmodern World, asks the question in this post. 

He begins with truth-telling:

‘for the better part of the last five years I’ve been losing confidence in preaching. This isn’t a commentary on the preaching I’ve been hearing, I should be clear, as I’ve been quite fortunate to worship in several congregations with engaging preachers. Rather, it’s preaching in general in which I’ve lost confidence, my own preaching included.’

Lose goes on to note how the form and shape of most preaching appears increasingly out of touch:

In a culture that is increasingly participatory, our preaching is still primarily a monologue. In a culture passionate about discovering meaning and crafting identity, our preaching too often draws conclusions for our hearers rather than inviting them into the questions themselves.

Second, as I look around our congregations, I see any number of people largely disconnected from the preaching, appreciating a touching story, perhaps, but rarely drawing from the sermon something they will continue to think about during the rest of the week.

His concerns are sound ones, I think, making his questions good ones to pose to you:

Is preaching still a worthwhile exercise or is it antiquated?

What do you want from a sermon?

I’d be interested in hearing your feedback.

Jason Micheli


2 responses to What Do You Want from a Sermon?

  1. I have experienced some very powerful Bible studies using the Socratic method of asking questions. We sat with Luke 10:1-12 once a week for over a month, routinely breaking up into smaller groups, addressing questions that we had been given and learning to ask our own. The first weeks were easiest. Learning to sit with the text in later weeks and dig still deeper was much more difficult.

    Can this be replicated in preaching?

    I think of Paul on Mars Hill and can’t help but imagine it was very lively back and forth conversation (but then I think of Eutychus). I don’t know, maybe this is partly why people like the time spent with children in worship. Aside from the sentimentality such moments can engender children will occasionally say and ask what we all are thinking.

    • This is a good idea, Morton. I’ve been ill so I apologize for not responding to your previous comment. You should check out the Socrative app for iPad/phone. I’ve not used it yet in a sermon setting but have had teachers in the congregation suggest I give it a try.

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