Sermon. Doesn’t that word just conjure up warmth and excitement? Wish you could hear one every day instead of just once per week?
A bit of unvarnished honesty from me… In 33 years of being a Christian I’ve listened to approximately 1600 sermons. Overall I’d say that about 5% were interesting or valuable, 5% were OK, and about 90% have been boring and of little or no value whatsoever. But every week I go to church and endure another. Why?
Permit me, if you will, to think out loud for a bit…
In my years of being a Christian I’ve come to greatly value Christian fellowship. I think that routinely (like at least a few times per week) getting together with other Christians is vitally important. I think that coming together and worshipping God, in song and prayer, is important. I also think that studying God’s word and learning about God is important. Most sermons meet about zero of these.
From what I can tell, there is nothing in God’s Word about weekly sermons. The weekly sermon is purely man-made tradition. We passively endure them for the sake of tradition, not because of anything God has instructed us.
Extremely few people are capable of either writing a good sermon or of delivering one. People become pastors and the weekly sermon is a traditional expectation of the job so regardless of qualification or ability these pastors spend valuable pastoral time every week writing and then practicing their weekly sermon. It is the center of most of their universe. How much better if these pastors instead spent time being a shepherd to their flock? Spent this time helping people in the congregation? Or to go further, do we even need paid full-time pastors?
I most often get far more out of discussions with other Christians than from any sermon. This is not only more valuable to my growth as a Christian but is also far more interesting and enjoyable.
Perhaps our churches are backwards. I wonder if smaller home groups shouldn’t be the core of the church. Instead of going to church every Sunday morning (or Sat night or whenever) maybe we should instead focus on going to a home group every week. And then maybe once a month on a Sunday night all of our home groups get together for a corporate worship time and MAYBE for a brief and relevant sermon.
These are very incomplete thoughts. More later…