Banish Boredom from the Sermon

They say that people no longer want to sit through a boring traditional sermon.  I don’t agree.  I don’t think people ever wanted to sit through a boring sermon.  Fred Craddock suggests that boredom is a form of evil, and I agree with Haddon Robinson that it is a sin to bore people with the Bible.  Take a moment to self-evaluate – are your sermons ever boring?

Boredom is partly a contagious attitude.  Somehow we have to make sure that we don’t find the sermon or its content boring.  The danger is always present since we spend hours working on the passage and sermon before preaching it.  Actually, I think the danger is often the opposite: that we get distracted by other things and fail to spend the necessary time in preparation.  Generally, the more time I spend preparing in a passage, the more excited I get about it (unless I’m trying to force it into some sermon form).  Whatever the cause, make sure you are not bored with the passage, the ministry, the routine, even subconsciously, or else it will contagiously spread to your listeners!

Boredom can be overcome.  During preparation, scan your outline or manuscript with a boring meter.  Note the parts of the message that are somewhat boring.  At these points overcome the problem before it occurs.  Engage the imagination in description or illustration.  Consider contemporary ways to communicate the ancient truth.  Can a story be used that will drive the message forward?  Is it a moment to reveal something slightly personal?  How does the text affect me – can I let that show?  Would it be helpful and appropriate to season the sermon with a hint of humor?

Enthusiasm and imagination are keys to unlocking boredom from a sermon, but try to overcome the problem ahead of time.  Try to avoid discovering the sermon is boring by the facial feedback of a disconnecting congregation.  It’s far easier to fix in the study than in the service!

2 thoughts on “Banish Boredom from the Sermon

  1. No doubt every preacher since Jesus is familiar with ‘the church look,’ that glazed over expression in the eyes, with the mouth either closed or just slightly agape. I found it took preaching several different sermons with humor and relevance before the congregation began to look expectant instead of bored before I even began.
    Kind of makes me glad I became a science fiction writer instead…

  2. Ah, that ancient belief that boredom is next to holiness, and the more you felt like you had to fight to stay awake during the sermon, the holier you must be.

    Thank God there are churches moving far, far beyond that now!

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