By Paul RichardsonThe majority of Adventist pastors in the United States report that they often preach sermons on practical Christian living. But, they are somewhat less likely than the clergy of other religions in America to say that they “always” preach on topics of this type. This information comes from research done as part of the Faith Communities.
Adventist preachers are more likely to focus on personal salvation and doctrine than are the clergy of other denominations. This is likely one reason why Adventist congregations are somewhat less likely to hear a steady stream of sermons on how to live as a Christian in today’s world. Yet, this is precisely the kind of topic that most Americans seek when they go to church. This may be why we are not reaching seekers in larger numbers.
A sermon that connects includes a Bible story as the basis for good exposition, teaching that challenges the educated mind and practical applications that touch the hearts of the hearers. Pastors who weave together all of these elements in a sermon while paying attention to transitions, coherence, voice quality and brevity keep the attention of listeners raised on TV.
1. How often do the sermons preached in our local church focus on practical Christian living: always, often, sometimes, seldom or never?
2. How often should the sermon focus on practical Christian living? Every Sabbath or two Sabbaths a month? Or, less often? Explain.
3. What are the key ingredients that church members/lay leaders feel should be included in most Sabbath sermons? Why?
4. What could the members/lay leaders do to support a preaching focus on practical Christian living?
Paul Richardson is the Director for the Center for Creative Ministry in Lincoln, NE.