Don’t Be Afraid to Repeat Yourself

The best way to help your people know the gospel is to tell them the gospel frequently.

We assume our people are drinking in everything we say when the reality that that – whilst some of what we say goes in – they don’t hear all of it and they certainly don’t retain all they hear. There can be an assumption that if we keep saying certain things we are just rehashing old ground. But, in my experience, saying something once from the front doesn’t guarantee that people heard it and certainly doesn’t mean they will recall it should you say it a second time. 


We assume far too much of our people. By that, I don’t mean that we assume they are cleverer than they really are. Nor do I mean that we have a tendency to expect them to do too much work in the church. What I meant was that we assume they take in far more from our sermons than they really do. It would probably be more accurate to say that we assume far too much of our teaching programmes and abilities.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I believe in the primacy of preaching. I think the Word must be central to all that we do when we meet together and I believe the Lord commands us to preach the Word. So, however you read the rest of this, don’t take it as a cheapening of preaching, as a suggestion that sermons are optional or that there is some ‘better way’. Preaching is vital for the church and is rightly central (it does take centre stage in your church service, doesn’t it?)

However, what I meant was that we can assume that our preaching has achieved far more than it has. It’s not at all uncommon for preachers to finish a series in whatever book they’ve been in and assume, because they’ve stood up and spoken about it systematically each week, their members now have Numbers or Acts or whatever locked down. No need to ever mention those things again because our people now ‘know them.’ At the risk of stating the obvious, it just ain’t so.

I suspect the tendency comes from a few places. For one, the guy preaching has spent so much longer in each passage than anybody else. He probably does know the book reasonably well by the end of the series.

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