Of course, God can still use a boring sermon to bless His people. However that’s not an excuse not to improve and use God given resources available to the pastor. I would like to share (based on my experience) five reasons why sermons are boring and tips to tweak it.
You use the same old illustrations over and over again – We understand that you use the same jokes or illustrations to make us easily grasp what you want us to understand. You want what is already familiar to us. At first we like those stories. However in time those illustrations breeds contempt. We became tired of listening to that part. We already know what part of the sermons were you will insert that. Some of us maybe rolling our eyes and saying in our mind “Goodness that worn out joke is coming…”. Some of us might even joke about those same old illustrations. And some might feel embarrassed.
Fix it: Its time to find some great stories that will explain points in your sermon. Try reading books (Christian and non Christian), watching TED-talks videos on Youtube, check out Christian blogs or listen to sermons from other preachers. Another tip is what Dr. Nathan Busenitz had suggested is to use Church History. It’s gives informative and timeless touch to your message. Another thing is, if its possible why not go straight to the point.
You preach the same old topic over and over again- We understand that when you emphasize a certain topic and repeat it over and over, you want to church to really get it. Of course we want to be constantly reminded of something from the Word of God. However, if that’s often and there is no other topic to be preach, then we have a problem. It might be also that you stick to your forte and scared to try other topics. Whatever the reasons are you need to grasp the heart of church.
Fix it: Ask your preaching team or key laymen on what to preach. Let your other preachers in your church preach. In that way it might reveal what are the spiritual needs of the church. Consult other pastors about what message matters to your church. Brainstorm in a place other than the church. And one last thing, don’t forget that the Holy Spirit will work even if you preached the topic once.
You talk too much of yourself- It’s one thing to put your personal anecdotes as a good illustration for the message, but when you become the sermon itself, eyes will roll and boredom will strike. In some cases, pulpits can be use to elevate self, academic achievements, virtue signalling and even solicit sympathy.
Fixt it: Let us remind ourselves that preaching is all about God and not you. You are responsible to point us to God through your message. If you’re trying to lift up your name in the pulpit, your glorifying yourself and not God. God didn’t called you to do that. He gave you that privilege to be His mouth piece.
Your sermon is too long – I’m not against long sermons. What I’m against are the unnecessary things included in the message that made it long. Beating around the bush, too much illustrations, personal stories that drift to a rabbit hole, random announcements etc., are some of the reasons the sermon had an unwarranted length.
Fix it: Why not go straight to the point? Why preach 1-2 hours that will leave your listeners dire of boredom when you can preach a 30-45 minute sermon that will bless them? Maybe its time to sharpen the saw. Sometimes we as preachers should learn to adjust to the listeners not the other way around. Flexibility is the key. Of course, this is not a small step to compromising your message but by learning to be flexible were becoming good preachers in the process. Listen what Spurgeon has to say about shortening your long message:
“Brevity is a virtue within the reach of all of us; do not let us lose the opportunity of gaining the credit which it brings. If you ask me how you may shorten your sermons, I should say, study them better. Spend more time in the study that you may need less in the pulpit. We are generally longest when we have least to say.”
Your listener already heard enough talk even before the sermon begin – Sometimes the one thing that drives boredom is not in the sermon itself but the talk you had before you start the preaching. You already consumed the listeners time and attention. What is left is disinterested folks who just wants you to get over your message. You already filled their ears with announcements, updates and adventures of your recent trips. Sad, sensitive and discouraging talks will leave them in the slump. Little did you know you long talk stole your sermon’s thunder.
Fix it: Place those important announcements and updates at the end of the service. Set a meeting specially if the issue are for members only. Print out some flyers containing those announcements so your member can read it at home. If its not that serious or demanding you can share it through Facebook group chat.
Pastors, we love and support you. We love you enough to say that their is something wrong with your sermon. We want to be biblically saturated and nothing else. And we know you want it also. However, their something that hinders that goal and that is your sermon is boring. So with all due respect listen to your flock. They want to bring out the best from you.