It’s pretty easy for us to sit in church, listen to the sermon and think oh, what a great sermon and so inspiring how Jesus went and taught them that and did this for them. If we asked you next week what the sermon was about the week before, I think most would be really hard pressed to tell us. You may have been listening intently, even scribbling notes in your bibles or notepads but I’d really like to poll some folks and ask them what they got from it, do they even remember what I was trying to teach them? (and so I did, see below)
No one wants to admit it. No Pastor wants to think this is the case, we work really hard on our sermons, we study, prepare, read through it, spend sooo much time and you’re saying no one remembers? Then what’s the point?
How do I know this? I’ll be the first to say that I know this has been the case with me. I didn’t realize it was happening though. I showed up, I got inspired, and by mid-week, I fizzled out, just to come back the next week and do it all over again.
James 1:22-25 --22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
I lead a young adult group each week, late teens to early 30’s, I asked them last night about this, there were 9 of them there. 2 remembered Sunday’s sermon- 1 of the 2 could apply it to their lives but hadn’t, the other remembered but is on the younger end and needs help applying knowing how to apply that…no problem there. One goes to another church, doesn’t remember his though. Another doesn’t go to church at all now but did as a younger child, no reference because he’s not in church. 5 of the others, do not remember…at all.
At work, I have friends that are Christians, so I polled 5 of them. One could not remember and said she was listening intently and was embarrassed to not remember. Another couldn’t remember at first but then did, but hadn’t thought about it since Sunday and leaving church. Another who is a pastor’s wife, doesn’t remember…very embarrassed. One wasn’t in church this past Sunday but remembers the week before…said she hasn’t used it in any way this week. Last one, remembered the power points and the story surrounding somewhat, but doesn’t remember the real point or bible verse.
It’s not a reflection of the pastor, his style, his teaching, his skill. It’s human nature.
What I asked them to do this week was, after hearing the sermon, re-read the passages in the bible and ask yourself, how can I apply this to how I live my life this week? What can I do for God this week? If you don’t know how to apply it, text me or call and we will figure it out together. I also know that if you think about how to apply it to the rest of your life, that might be too broad. Think this week, make a conscious effort to do it.
The Pastor's wife told me this week, I am the wild card. haha yup, I shake things up.(she meant this as a positive trait) Not afraid to challenge myself and others. Not to upset anyone but to spur them and myself to do better...hope noone feels upset or that I'm saying the sermon is useless. I guess it can be, if we're not remembering it and applying it...but, we have to teach people how to apply it and encourage the use of it in our lives...now...not someday. I know everyone is working really hard on this Sunday message, hours of time, energy and research. You want your people to use it!
I'm looking forward to your thoughts on this.