Why Sermons? If Jesus came today would he preach?
I know that I’m walking a tight-rope with this post, but it’s something I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about (as with worship services in general). (This post is only meant to invoke thought, not bash sermons.)
I know the history.
I know that Jesus taught.
I know that Peter and Paul and others preached.
But why sermons? Why the passive listening? Do we actually learn from sermons anymore? Are that many people’s lives being changed through the power of sermons?
Or could it be, that they were powerful for a time and that time is coming to an end? Could it be that sermons were powerful through the reformation and with revivalists, but that now they’re just what you do at church and no one is willing to bring up the topic of change?
We’ve seen change in other part of the worship service. Music has changed with the times. Some churches have changed the way we take offering, others the way we take communion. Some churches have changed the venue in which we meet and others the venue through which we see the sermon, but how many have changed the sermon?
Sure some have made some changes. A video here. A drama there. A costume here. A song there. But, for the most part and for the majority of the weeks out of the year, the format stays the same.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t necessarily have some other idea for teaching/preaching/sermons (by the way, what’s the point of sermons – to teach?). And I’m not just trying to get more time for the worship guys (though I most certainly wouldn’t be opposed to that). It just seems that, for the most part, with all the change the church has been through the biggest piece of the puzzle remains unchanged. And as culture changes faster than I can type the word change, shouldn’t the biggest portion of our services also be thought through just as carefully as every other slice of the pie?
(Now, I just want to go eat my last piece of birthday apple pie. Maybe pie is the answer….)
If Jesus were to have chosen now to come and show us the way the truth and the life, do you think he’ be preaching sermons? As for me, I don’t know. Jesus’ messages are timeless, transcend all human teaching ability and will never be replaced other than by Jesus himself. But in the time in which Jesus came, that’s what people did. Rabbi’s of the day didn’t have to fight for people’s attention because what else was there? Hanging out with tax collectors?
I just wonder what means of communication Jesus would choose to use in this day and age. Sure it’s kind of a hypothetical question, but from where I sit, it’s a question we need to ask. We may never agree on an answer. We may fail in our attempts to communicate more effectively. But then again, we may become more effective at reaching people for Christ. People who have already heard sermons and found no reason to continue listening.
Let me ask you this, how many people’s lives are being changed (I’m talking real change, not Sunday change) as a result of the sermons that are being preached at your church? If the answer to that question is many, then maybe you don’t need to change anything. Maybe you do. If the answer to that question is few, then maybe you need to change something. Then again, maybe it’s the worship guy’s spiky hair that needs to be changed.
Regardless, in our quest to reach a many people for Christ, let us not leave any stone unturned. The stones you turn may bare the most fertile ground.
And all it needs is a seed.
(Chime in! If you have input on this topic, leave your comment below. If you think I’m totally off base, feel free to let me know that you think so! If you have an idea of what sermons should look like today, or what Jesus would do, let us all know!!!)