Why We Shouldn’t Ditch the Traditional Sermon Just Yet

Many views agree that the sermon has had its day.

Most people manage perfectly happily with our 40-minute sermons. The only people who don’t are those who don’t really want to listen to the Word at all. Most people are quite happy to sit, listen and will even chat about stuff they’ve heard later in the week with other church members. It’s almost as if people who want to understand the Word are perfectly capable of listening to expository preaching when they are motivated to do so.

 

Calls for us to ditch sermons are nothing new. I remember people saying these sorts of these things when I was a young lad. More recently, I’ve heard people give a variety of different reasons why we should ditch the sermon. Some of them are intellectual sounding, others are much more straightforward and honest, while others still reference culture and insist that it is all passe. But all of these views agree that the sermon has had its day.

And you’d assume an area like mine would be ripe for that sort of thing. We’re a church with a large number of non-English speakers present, the thought of a 30-40 minute sermon (no 10-minute Anglican homilies in our gaff) seems almost insane. Then there’s the the whole working class thing. Surely (as I am frequently told in slightly more dressed up language) your people are a bit too thick to concentrate for that long. Obviously if you’ve never been to university, how could you cope with listening. And what about the ‘younger generation’ – all those feckless millenials who are wedded to their phones and youtube videos? They can’t concentrate for more than the length of a gif!

And yet *big shock to absolutely nobody who pays attention* most people manage perfectly happily with our 40-minute sermons. The only people who don’t are those who don’t really want to listen to the Word at all. Most people are quite happy to sit, listen and will even chat about stuff they’ve heard later in the week with other church members. It’s almost as if people who want to understand the Word are perfectly capable of listening to expository preaching when they are motivated to do so.

So, in no particular order, here are some reasons I don’t think we should be ditching the sermon just yet.

It’s Biblical

Bottom line, the bible pushes us to view preaching as important. Thoughout Acts, whilst there are examples of dialogue going on, there is a clear pattern of preaching in monologue. I suppose it is possible that these are edited examples of discussions, but they are in actuality presented as monologues. What is more, Timothy is given the charge to devote himself to the public reading of scripture and to preach the Word. The Corinthian church are told to stop quite so many people speaking, which suggests that too much conversation and sharing was getting in the way of the main purpose of the gather. And, in the end, the typical words translated ‘preach’ or ‘preaching’ mean to proclaim, declare or herald. Preaching is biblical and we are foolish to depart from what the Lord has told us clearly to do.

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