The Problem of Boring Sermons. Let’s be honest… On Sunday morning it’s easy to let your mind drift or get mentally lost when the pastor is preaching. I have preached every Sunday morning and most Sunday nights and Wednesday nights for the last 36 years and hundreds of times in-between. I know what I’m talking about. I can usually tell when someone’s mind is wandering off to the lunch menu or their fantasy football team. I do my best to capture and hold the attention of people, but it helps a lot if both the the guy in the pulpit and the folk in the pew are working at it.
Questions. Here is a good way to make the message more interesting, if your pastor announces his text ahead of time. This works well when your pastor is preaching through a book of the Bible so you can anticipate what portion of Scripture he is going to preach from. Read the passage ahead of time starting early in the week so the passage is on your mind and in your heart all week. Read or listen to the passage from a few different translations and paraphrases. Now here is the key thing to make the messages more interesting. Write down any questions that come to your mind. Pepper the text of scripture with questions. Who, what, where, when, and why. It’s also helpful to ask “So what?” Here are three more great questions to ask…. (These are questions you can ask in your heart while the pastor is preaching) What does the text say? What does that mean? What does that mean to me? When you answer these three questions you are observing, interpreting, and applying Scripture.
What does it say: Observation.
What does it mean: Interpretation.
What does it mean to me: Application.
By all means if you ask questions of the text the message will be more interesting because as the pastor preaches he will be answering the questions you have been carrying in your heart all week. If you want the sermon to be more interesting read the Scripture ahead of time and ask questions of the text.
Don’t Belch and Walk Away. Early this morning I had a hospital visit. It was dark when I pulled into my parking place at the church. I thought about supper last night. Lois had made a delicious beef stew and had it ready for me when I finally got home after a late meeting. I took a minute to send her a text to let her know how much I appreciated the meal and the cozy atmosphere she always creates in our home. Don’t forget to pray for your pastor and encourage him by interacting in a positive way about his preaching. He spends many hours a week in preparation. It’s good to know that you just don’t eat, belch, and walk away without gratefulness or thought.
Additional Tip: Get a good study Bible. I recommend the John MacArthur Study Bible or the ESV Study Bible. These will help you think more deeply about the text. Every week when I begin to study my text I am tempted to believe that the passage is not interesting or applicable to my life. The more I dig the more fascinating and relevant it is. The more I study, the more I see how all the pieces fit together into a single picture.
Pastor Ken Pierpont
Evangel Baptist Church-Taylor, Michigan
October 29, 2015