Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Sermons: The good, the bad and the ugly

I will readily admit that I'm not the most seasoned public speaker, but I do know what I like about sermons and what I don't like. First of all, I'm a stubborn person. This can be a good thing and a bad thing. Sometimes I simply don't want to listen to particular sermons because it may address a personal issue that I'm dealing with. And that is just painful. However, the following are some no no's that I look at. (Remember, I'm just a person with a strong opinion and a computer, not an expert)

1) Bigshots: These type of ministers really crack me up. Who do they think they are? Just because they have a Masters of Divinity doesn't make them holier than thou. They may know more than I do, but that doesn't mean that they have the right to talk down to their congregation just because they have a pulpit. Pulpits are just made of wood, that doesn't make them special. Remember,

For all have sinned; all fall short of God's glorious standard. Romans 3: 23

This means that we're all on the same level, ministers included.

2)The unprepared: This one is annoying. I hate it when someone gets up to speak and they aren't ready to do so. Isn't it their job to deliver the message? Isn't it what they get paid for? Doesn't God expect more? I always feel pretty cheated because the pastor is too otherwise occupied to put together a well done sermon. Apparently there is a website called Sermons.com.
I'm not kidding, it really exists.

3) The formula: I think the standard is like three points and two illustrations. Now I know that sometimes that is unavoidable, but recently in the church I've been attending, I've got the pastor pretty pegged. I can usually tell when the poem or story is gonna come. The sermon should not have to be in the same format every week. The Holy Spirit should do its work and make each sermon its own.

The speaking style shouldn't be the same either. There is no one way to deliver a message. There are some definate no no's, but every person is different and each sermon should somewhat reflect the person who is giving it. In other words, ministers shouldn't try to be like each other in the pulpit. There's only one Billy Graham, one Louie Giglio and one Rick Warren. Ministers should try to be themselves.

All in all, my conclusion is this: Ppride and greed are the death of all sermons. It's never about the one in the pulpit, its about the One who they are supposed to be representing. I truly believe that you can have the least amount of public speaking skills, and God can be glorified. It's all about who is glorified.

1 comment:

Tyler said...

Jillian,
I agree. A well written blog. There seem to be so few really well preached sermons out there. I think though that the real key is: does the minister really connect with the lives of the folks in the pews? Even if he/she hits them right in the gut, (proverbially speaking) it's ok, so long as it's done right.