Feel-Good Sermons

There is a phenomenon, actually not uncommon, that we might call the feel-good sermon.  In it the preacher begins with the text and then shares several points that are somehow linked to the text.  The points will be put in terms that are comfortable and reassuring to the listener.  The listeners may well walk away feeling vaguely blessed and certainly positive in their view of the speaker.

However, this kind of sermon typically does not engage fully with the text.  Often issues like sin or judgment will be skirted around or offered merely in non-specific euphemisms.  Thus the tension in the text is not really engaged, nor resolved.  This probably means that the same tensions in the lives of the listeners are neither engaged, nor resolved.

Let’s beware of preaching feel-good sermons rather than biblical sermons.  It is possible to preach the Bible in a very engaging, encouraging and even positive way.  It is possible to preach the passage properly, even in a “seeker-friendly” setting.  In fact, if our main concern was the listener, wouldn’t we feel obliged to really engage fully with both text and listener?  The feel-good sermon seems to be a short-cut to happy handshakes, but it falls short of engaging both the text and the listener.  So perhaps the motivation is more fear and the preacher’s personal comfort than it is the motivation of a true minister?

3 thoughts on “Feel-Good Sermons

  1. Yes, what you call “feel good” sermons do much harm. They leave the people with a distorted gospel that never confronts. They make they people think they are all right when that may not be the case. And they sometimes give preachers a name as a great preacher….

    I like how you point out that the tension in the text is not engaged. Such preaching often ignores tension and simply gives a few points that may be inspirational…may even be true, but are not life changing and transformational…

  2. Just to play the devil’s advocate for a second. I hear & agree with you about not truly addressing or engaging the text. However, “feel good” can also be interpreted as edification. Sometimes the Lord just wants to lift-up & edify His people based on covenant and not behavior. As a parent we all no the importance speaking words of endearment to our children, although we are fully aware of their short comings. Hope I am claer with my point.

  3. AMEN Brother! I would rather have the listener mad at me and under conviction, than open the door to hell for them.

    Preaching the fullness of the WORD can only be done when the preacher is lead by and walking in the Spirit of the Living God. In 30 years I have made many friends, but better by far are those who became my Brother or Sister in Christ.

    Thank you for this excellent reminder!

    Steve Kreins
    First Church of God
    Waco, Texas

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