Sermons used to inspire revival, rile up whole congregations for the sake of the Kingdom and even could create large scale change in entire towns. But now-days they're just the usual expectation of Sunday church-goers which gets them to think deeply for a few minutes until the words become like seeds on a dandelion, carried away by the wind.
It's the standard model of church services and has been around for as long as any of us are aware but does that mean the church status quo should continue? Is it really working?
Nothing ever changes
This past year our hard working pastor has preached on a number of things: putting Jesus first, loving your church family as you love yourself, what living radically for Jesus should look like. Rousing messages of a Fleet Commander motivating his Fleet. But has anything in our church changed much? Not really.
Are we winning souls for Christ? Has our outreach been to the unbelievers of the community? And if sermons are not inspiring the Fleet into action then what will?
A lot of modern churches insert little clips of videos in each service which seems to linger in the memory of the congregation much longer than a standard sermon. Putting in a demonstration or a game also can work to temporarily wake people up. But it's not about entertaining them.
What ways can we get across the fact that we're in a war without a physical demonic manifestation on the premises? Or without a hate-filled atheist screaming death threats during a service?
The same old church service doesn't work
No longer is it the days of Spurgeon where people would hear and be immediately called to action. It's now the days of a genial 'nice work pastor' while we pat him (or her) on the back and return to life as a lukewarm Christian. But if a sermon can't make us get serious about Christianity what will?
This is where our churches are failing. We're doing things the old way and expecting it to be the same as the days of Wesley or Spurgeon.
Churches set in the old ways have been dead for decades. We've got aged Anglicans, Lutherans, Presbyterians and Baptists now who listen to sermons like a ritual. It's their Sunday ritual that they've always done and then that's it.
They let their grown-up sons and daughters live Jesus-free lives because Jesus is only a Sunday ritual to them. Is the ritual going to save them or their children? The ever-expected sermon might just be killing our churches because they're not making people consider their lives and change!
It's not that the message isn't good but the format is the old ritual that people seem to be sleep-walking through.
We need to get extreme
What's the solution? I don't know. Role-play? Drama? Debate? Those are just some ideas. We're in a spiritual war, so what will make that fact sink in? You can have the most relevant sermon and it still doesn't mean people will apply it in their life.
Maybe we need to shock this Laodicean church into movement. Maybe the Devil himself needs to show up in all his glory so people don't keep walking away in a haze of forgetfulness.
Anything seems to be better than the standard old sermon which continues to lull the people stuck in their comfort zones – same ol' church, same ol' unchanged lives.
Let's shake things up a bit and allow for the Spirit of God to get creative.
Bridget Brenton has been researching apologetics, philosophy and the paranormal for years. You can check her apologetic effort out at www.101arguments.com.
Bridget Brenton's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/bridget-brenton.html