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Your people came to church with a heavy heart. Somebody found out about their home breaking up. Somebody found out they lost their job this week. Somebody got a diagnoses and it is serious. You preached a sermon about the goodness of God. This certainly is a worthy subject.
Your people were informed. They may have even shouted, but did they get something that will help them?
Way back in seminary, one of my homiletics professors stated that one of the most important questions every preacher should ask of every sermon, is “So What?” What my homiletics professor was pushing me to do was ask the question, “What do I want the people to do with this sermon?” Stated another way, “What difference does the sermon make in my life?”
As I have written before, too many sermons are “Lectures” and Not “Sermons.” You can see that here where I tell people to apply their sermon. In a lecture-type sermon, the people are given facts or are given an argument that a fact is true and then the sermon ends without the people knowing what to do with the information. It is as if the whole point is to give people some facts.
But your people came to church having lost their job. Did they really need to hear a lecture. Something that you think they aught to know. Something that you didn’t apply to their situation Something you didn’t apply to any situation. Did they come back home still sick, still hurting. Still feeling the weight of their pain only having heard a few “insights?”
What Bind Does Your Sermon Get People out of?
I have written about Eugene Lowry’s statement that a sermon is a problem placed next to the gospel. He then tells us that if we want to preach on a doctrine, like the trinity for example, we should have in mind what bind the doctrine gets us out of? What question does it answer? Asking this question will bring a depth of relevance to all of our preaching.
So before you preach that next sermon ask yourself what everyone in your congregation are asking….”So What?” If you can’t give an answer, your sermon is not ready to be preached.
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