Thursday, February 26, 2015

Reason #5 - Professional Pastors' Sermons Put People in the Pews to Sleep

This particular post applies not just to professional pastors. Rather, I'm taking aim at the Protestant sacrament known as "The Sermon."

If you attend almost any church in this country you will hear some sort of sermon. It might also be referred to as a message. Either way, it amounts to a lecture. One person, usually a professional pastor, stands on some sort of platform/stage and speaks for 20-45 minutes to a silent audience. It is almost always a monologue. This is, as I stated above, a lecture.

Lecture as a form of instruction has been repeatedly shown to be the worst form of teaching. The more interactive learners are the more likely they are to recall the content presented. Since the people in the pews are not asked to do more than listen, they end up retaining very little of what the man on the stage has said. This in spite of the fact that many, many Christians believe that the most important aspect of a pastor's job is preaching (just ask).

When I was a paid pastor I spent several hours per week studying for my two Sunday sermons. I would preach my heart out. The effort was there. Although I thought I was good at it, I was probably just average. Regardless, no matter how I preached numerous people would still fall asleep. The majority seemed to be staring off into space, probably thinking about either lunch or relaxing that afternoon. Some were listening, but this was by far the minority.

Modern preaching is simply not effective. The church as a whole must rethink how it teaches the great truths of the faith. Lecturing (i.e., sermonizing) is just about the worst possible method. In order for reform to occur, all pastors (professional or not) should stop preaching - at least as we know it since the Reformation - right away. As part of this, the professionals ought to resign their positions since much of what they receive salaries for is sermon prep and sermon delivery.

When the church finally does away with the sermon it will be headed on the right track.

(This post is part of the series 25 Reasons Professional Pastors Should Resign).

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