“The measure of a sermon is not whether it affirms what you already believe. A sermon is not a product to be consumed and then evaluated according to how good it was or whether it was pleasing or enjoyable.
If a sermon can be resolved in the time it took to deliver it, then it missed something central to what a sermon even is, which is connected with what the Eucharist is. The gathering of the church, in a service or worship or teaching setting, is to remind, instruct, and inspire people about being Eucharist for the worlds they find themselves in.
The sermon is about starting the discussion. The sermon is about having the first word. The sermon is a catalyst that inspires people into whole new ways of seeing their lives.”
These words from Rob Bell continue to inspire me as I prepare for sermons. I have preached almost every week this summer and because you are the pastor, I always receive feedback/criticism. The part of Mr. Bell’s words that resonate the most with me is the first part of the second sentence: “If a sermon can be resolved in the time it took to deliver it, then it missed something central to what a sermon even is . . .”
So many people listen for the Word of God for those 25 or so minutes and that is it. Then there are a few that carry it with them even after worship is over. Out of all the compliments I have received over the past couples years in reference to my preaching, the one that will stick with me the longest was this: “You know, I’ve never really read Amos before. But after your sermon, I think I’m going to read it this week.” This man actually did. The next week, he came back to hear the second part of a sermon series on Amos, and before the service began, we talked at length about Amos. For me, this is what sermons need to be. Pete Rollins talks about how sermons are not to be water that satisfies the soul, but rather salt water that makes us yearn for and long for that which the sermon is about, the Word of God.