Gladys Dunn had recently moved into a retirement community and was looking for a church to attend. Fortunately, she found a congregation to attend within walking distance.
When she arrived on Sunday, she found the building attractive and inviting. The people were friendly. The singing was enthusiastic and edifying. The prayers were fervent. And the communion service was reflective and thought-provoking.
However, the sermon left something to be desired. The minister’s message was disjointed and rambling. The points lacked connection. The Bible references were not adequately explained. The illustrations seemed forced. And a feeble attempt at humor fell flat.
Gladys noticed several of the congregants were nodding off. Including the man sitting to her left. When the service ended, he was yawning and stretching trying to wake up.
He smiled at Gladys, and she returned the smile.
Politely she offered her hand and said, “I’m Gladys Dunn.”
“You and me both,” the man replied.
This fictitious story reminds us of the importance of preaching the Word so we can connect with our hearers.
While preachers are not entertainers nor should their lessons be steeped in theatrics, comedy, or sophistry, we should deliver our message as effectively as we can.
G. Campbell Morgan once offered this summary of a good sermon: “If I am asked to condense into words the essentials of a sermon, I do it with these three: Truth, Clarity, Passion.”
In Common Sense Preaching, Dee Bowman wrote, “Preaching that does not storm the will is not good preaching.”
“The task of the preacher,” once quipped Vance Havner, “is to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable.”
While we each have our own style, approach, and personality we bring to the pulpit, we can present God’s word in an understandable manner with conviction that calls for our hearers to take action.
A word of warning is appropriate as well. Regardless of how poorly, we may think a sermon is presented, we are present to worship God. We should do so with respect, decorum, and heartfelt reverence. If we open both our Bibles and our minds, there always ought to be something we can take away that will enrich our lives.
Today, may those of us who preach the Word do so with passion and purpose. With love and kindness. With honesty and integrity. And with accuracy and exactness.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman