Boring Sermons: the bane of church life

The Briefing produced by Matthias Media put out an excellent article entitled, “Borers in the Pulpit”.  They included 6 areas that every pastor should address: Purpose, Passion, Energy, Length (so sermon), Illustrations and Application.  Below is an excerpt from the article, I strongly encourage you to read the entire thing at their website!  And if you haven’t subscribed to this periodical, please do so – it is consistently very theologically sound and challenging!

Borers in the Pulpit: (Rob Smith / Briefing #369 / June 2009)

Boring sermons are often the bane of church life. However, it need not be so. Rob Smith offers some reflections on how preachers can minister the word of God more faithfully and more effectively.

There’s an old joke about churches being afflicted either by borers in the pulpit or white-ants in the pews, or worse, both! Of course, the joke touches on what is, for many, a raw nerve—preachers frustrating their congregations with tedious, abstract and irrelevant sermons, and congregations demoralizing their preachers through unresponsiveness, criticism and lack of encouragement.

The following article is written by someone who, as a regular preacher and hearer of sermons, has the potential to be (and, no doubt, has been, at times) both a ‘borer’ and a ‘white-ant’. While there is much that needs to be said about how to listen to sermons, my aim in this article is to speak to my fellow ‘borers’ (both actual and potential), and to offer some theological and practical reflections on how we might better fulfil our God-given responsibilities.

In what follows, I’m going to assume that we’re already committed to what the Puritans called “the foolishness of preaching” (1 Cor 1:21 KJV) and that we’re convinced that our chief business is to teach God’s word by expounding the Scriptures faithfully and prayerfully. These are, perhaps, dangerous assumptions and matters that should never be taken for granted. But as they are not currently under contention in the circles I move in, I will instead focus my attention on six areas that seem particularly relevant at the present time: purpose, passion, energy, length, illustrations and application.

Read the entire article here.


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