Thoughts from my desk, February 16, 2020
Pastor Friends, and Friends who listen to my pastor friends,
What do you want, expect, or hope for your people to do with your Sunday morning message, or any other message you have prepared?
As a teacher of some forty years, I know a tad bit about teaching so that your students will retain the material. Please pastors, don’t stop now because you get excited about the difference between teaching and preaching. Whatever you call it, don’t you want your listeners to be changed somehow, to take something home to think about, maybe some bit of newness you are adding to their vocabulary?
So what are you doing about it?
I would guess you all remember those alliterative messages. Where the pastor made each successive point begin with the next letter. I fear some of those were constructed sideways, stretching the material to fit the alphabet to fit. Then, true confession, I remembered the sideways part of it, but not the meat.
I wonder if part of the issue is that those people out there in the seats don’t really know that this stuff you are sharing is supposed to be important, life-changing maybe. And way more important than all those classes they took back in high school or college where they labored over taking down every precious word the prof or teacher uttered. Because they were going to be tested on it.
This morning it came to me that you people up behind the pulpit or music rack or whatever should recognize as your people should recognize, they are still taking tests on what you present. Only these are life-important tests, and, if that doesn’t move you, remember, the one who’s doing the grading is God.
So, my friends, first, what are you doing to help your people know they need this stuff and secondly, what are you doing to help them remember it?
I think you need to remind them about this once in a while. You need to tell them that you are aware of the mission you have of preparing them to cope with life in a way that glorifies God. That you are aware of the importance of helping them understand that God loves them and all He wants is for them to love Him and love one another…and they may need some help in understanding what that loving one another looks like. (But that’s another blog)
Then you need to communicate your message in a way that they can understand and remember. Use technology…think getting it in front of them…not a zillion words, but a few well-chosen words that are worth their time to write down and remember and mull over.
And create some way for them to talk over what you said, so that they can really see how to apply it or, more importantly maaaaaybe, figure out where they got it wrong.
Encourage them to keep a notebook, and do it more than once. And not just the ladies. And I know paper is expensive, but maybe you could give out half sheets of notes that might include some references for further study.
OK, that’s probably enough. I think you get my thoughts, and I needed to get them down before I lost my courage. And yes, I will show you my notebook if you want.
PS. I don’t work for Amazon but you can find that sermon notebook on Amazon. It is Bible Study Journal: Christian Journals to Write In – A Simple Guide To Journaling Scripture. But I just use a cheap lined spiral bound notebook that fits my voluminous purse.