As 2018 draws to a close, I’m going to steal some some inspiration from a recent Facebook post from Barack Obama, and share some bits and pieces I’ve enjoyed seeing / reading / listening to over the last 12 months. They’ve all particularly inspired, or held my attention in some way.
There will also be Church Sofa highlights thrown in there as well.
There may well be affiliate links thrown in to the mix, but if you dont know any of the below I’d encourage you to check it all out.
Isn’t the Church Sermon great? After all, they are a chance to sleep, write silly blog posts, make paper aeroplanes, order pizza, hear and learn Gods wisdom through the study of his word. But the challenge for anyone giving the sermon in church is to ensure they get, and keep peoples attention*. Even the most charismatic of preachers cant stop everyone from being distracted from the sermon they are giving.
We asked a group of people what they were distracted by remembered from sermons over the last month.
That noisy baby / toddler perfectly positioned behind your good ear.
That coughing fit the old dear sitting near you had. Leading you to spend the rest of the service, keeping an eye on her, whilst trying to remember your fist aid training.
The person behind you spilling their glass of water ALL over the place.
Being distracted by calculating the flat surface a full glass of water can cover, once spilt.
The plans for Sunday Roast your head came up with, only two minutes into the sermon.
The last time you heard that illustration.
Wondering if last weeks preacher was funnier.
When you played the game of “Guessing the age of the guest speaker from the clues dropped in their sermon.”
The first and third times when a children’s worker appeared, and you wondered if it was your child that was upset.
That moment of hope when the preacher said “I’ll close on this point”
*Yes we are aware that there are other things, such as being theologically sound, hearing from God, etc…
It is one of the unwritten rules of a Sunday Church Service. At some point a preacher will stand up to preach a sermon. At this point things get flexible, the person preaching could be male, female, dog collared, cat collared, but either way there is normally a preacher giving a sermon in church during a Sunday Service.
This preacher faces a number of dangers, every time a sermon is preached:
Someone in the congregation seeing if your phone is on silent.
That glass of water on the floor. Watch your feet.
Wearing the wrong thing will create offence to someone. Don’t wear a shirt and tie… There will be complaints… Wear a shirt and tie, the people not used to you in a tie might giggle at you…
That guy standing at the back, subtly doing the “your fly is low” action.
The edge of the stage.
The potential for complications with technology (e.g. microphone, powerpoint).
Notes jumping on to the floor of their own according and scattering.
Realising you’ve forgotten a page of your sermon notes.
The gentle cough you had this morning, returning with a vengeance, at a crucial moment.
A moment from Richard Littledales blog, where he looks at the question of if the Church should preach what it practises:
Preaching is the charcoal stick which outlines God’s possibilities on the canvas of the soul. Preaching is the place where timeless truth and temporal limitation collide, showering the faithful with sparks of God’s illuminating brilliance. In short, it is motivation for the church more than PR for the world.