Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The 4 Most Terrible Types of Sermons

If you are a church person, you've suffered through more than a few terrible sermons. In my experience, there are two kinds of awful: content awful and delivery awful. I dare to write this only because I have taught my fair share in my short career. It's not on purpose, but if you are going to marry a prince you have to kiss a lot of toads (or something like that...)

Without further ado, here are the 4 Most Terrible Sermons:

1. The "this is taking so long Jesus is going to come back" Sermon
The attention span of an average person is about 20 minutes (it's science, look it up). But stick that person on a wooden pew or a metal folding gym chair, raise the thermostat for cost saving measures, and speak in a monotone voice and it drops to about 4 seconds. So why, pastor, do you insist on preaching for an hour? I know that mega-church pastor you admire does it and claims it is "theologically necessary" but he is a WAY better speaker than you are. The truth is I could listen to him for an hour, and they probably have comfy chairs there, too...

2. The "oops I forgot about Jesus" sermon
I now believe that God has big dreams for my life. I now know 5 principles for a great marriage. I even now understand that it is important to put the big rocks into my "life jar" before the pebbles and the sand. And on top of all that I learned in Sunday School as a child that "Jesus" has something to do with all of this. You just forgot to tell me what.

3. The "guilt trip" sermon
OK I get it, I'm a sinner. And in fact I should pray more, read my bible, go to small group, and all-around try harder. And  the worst part is, I already know 100% of that before I step foot in a church. But here's the thing, you seem more upset about this than Jesus because, well, he's already forgiven me. Can we move on to something that might motivate me to live for God like, I don't know, the unending, unquenchable love of God expressed in Christ?

4. The "awkward moments and unfunny jokes" sermon
Self-deprecating humor in sermons is fantastic. Spouse-deprecating humor is the worst thing. Ever. And please don't joke about your love life, racial stereotypes, or your political views. Keep the jokes confined to making fun of denominationalism and whatever you found on And while we're at it, I humbly request that you make it clear when you want an audience response. I have answered "anyone here today ever have a deep dark secret?" out-loud one too many times.


kay said...

you are so right on with these! love #4! no bad mouthing the spouses! they have to put up with you!

and i've been privileged to be privy to many of your "sermons". i can't remember you using any of these "tactics". always great words spoken with God in your heart.

miss you friend

Unknown said...

Thanks Kay,
I agree, spouses are supposed to be greatest allies, best friends, and biggest supporters!