Well, this is an easy one, right?! Just make sure that at some point during your message, three armed police officers interrupt your service to arrest, handcuff, and lead away at least one person in the front row. That’s it, no more boredom!
But alas, there is one reason why that can’t happen… no one sits in the front row! Okay, so let me suggest something else.
The fear of the majority of pastors is that they will bore their people when they preach or teach God’s word. Why, it’s inevitable at some point. The guy in the third row is sound asleep, people check their watch, or their smartphone. Even you or I get bored once in a great while during a message. But there is hope.
I’ve been preaching and teaching for thirty years now, so let me share a few presuppositions, then a few ideas.
Presupposition #1 – God changes hearts with his holy Word. The Holy Spirit of God uses his word, to do the work. He can use what we might think of as the most boring sermon or lesson.
Presupposition #2 – We do not use presupposition #1 as an excuse to bore people.
Presupposition #3 – The listener must have a pulse. What I mean by that is the listener must have at least an entry level intention and willingness to listen, hear, and be changed. If not, we could explode, and they would still yawn.
Presupposition #4 – Boredom is as much in the mind of the listener as in the actions of the speaker.
Presupposition #5 – Content should trump presentation style. Content is most important. Without it, the presentation style is meaningless.
Presupposition #6 – Presentation style should deliver content, not overshadow or obscure it.
Now, here are some ideas for how not to be boring. We will share more in our podcast on Wednesday, Episode 32 – Why You Should Explore Creative Communication Methods In Your 200church, and in our post on Friday. This is “Communication Week” at 200churches!
Idea #1 – As the preacher, we MUST be close to God ourselves. Be close to Him through prayer, intimacy with Scripture, and personal heart devotion to our Father, our Savior, and our indwelling Holy Spirit. There is no shortcut to OUR intimacy with God – the source of power in preaching! Yeah, I know this one is not a "silver bullet" that is easy to do - but it's the truth and there is no substitute for it.
Idea #2 – Be close to our people. Our love for them, and our knowledge of them, will be both our motivation and our direction in our preaching. We are not preaching or teaching a crowd every week, but our friends, the people we love.
While I prepare my messages, I am thinking about the lady who just lost her husband, the student struggling with alcohol and parties, the man addicted to pornography, and the parents whose teenage son shot himself in the head in their family room... and died. Our relationship with our people certainly influences our messages.
Idea #3 – Variety! We can change how we deliver the message. Stand, sit, speak, point, loudly, softly, onstage, off stage, video, handout, object lesson, story, list, challenge, action step, lectern, table, whiteboard, pulpit, no pulpit, images, art, music, interview, team preach, personal story, etc. etc. We must use creativity and variety. It is good for our people to wonder what might come next.
Idea #4 – Let’s be ourselves, not someone else. You have likely heard it before – God doesn't want another Billy Graham or Francis Chan – he wants YOU. God created us to speak to our people, love our people, and teach our people. We can trust him that he has given us the personal, intellectual, and creative resources we need to get the message across. Let’s just be ourselves.
Well, that’s a good start! Wednesday’s podcast will expand on this, get you thinking, and hopefully inspire you to seek that “next level” in your ability to communicate God’s wonderful word.
What was the most creative thing you ever successfully pulled off in a sermon?
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