I’ve heard several thousand sermons in my life. I can remember parts from about six of them. Not the whole thing, just parts. Seldom does the recollection of one message even make it to the next Sunday. More likely I’ve forgotten it by the time I make it home – or even to the parking lot. That’s bad news for preachers.
I remember someone once asking, “What has God been teaching you lately?”
“Well,” I reply, “I heard a really great sermon on Sunday.”
“Cool! What was it about?”
I’m silent for a while. “Gee, I can’t remember – but I know it was good.”
I guess that’s why preachers often review last week’s sermon before they launch into a new one.
Some sermons are long and others are short. Some are shallow and others, deep. Some contain clever sound bites and others spew dry theology. Some preachers are accomplished communicators and others have trouble stringing two coherent thoughts together.
Their common trait is that the words are largely forgettable. Though I can usually walk out of church with one key thought, it is fleeting. I don’t gain new knowledge, no lasting change occurs, I don’t connect with God in a deeper way.
Even though the sermon is the focus at most all Protestant churches, it falls short of significance most every week – at least for me. That’s why I don’t go to church to hear the sermon or even for the music. I go for the community. That’s why I’m going today.
Why do you go to church? What’s your favorite part?