In a previous blog post, we talked about how important it is to balance spiritual and Scriptural depth along with application in your sermons. Too much of one without the other can leave your congregation wanting more, and that’s the last thing we as pastors want our members to experience when they walk away from one of our sermons.
Today, we’re going to continue this conversation and make sure that as we write our sermons, we don’t focus too much on the inspiration and application that we sacrifice spiritual and Scriptural depth.
Unfortunately, there are many churches in our country today who have found themselves categorized as “feel-good churches.” They preach highly inspirational messages that seem to resemble TED talks more than Sunday morning sermons. Scripture might be used, and it might not be. Verses may be referenced but not studied or read in context. And instead, motivational content and inspirational quotes make up the majority of the message.
While this might feel good to your congregation in the moment, their individual relationships with God aren’t going to grow or be challenged if you’re always preaching a “feel-good” message. You want them to walk away with a better understanding of what God’s Word says about Him, about them, and about His hope for them as His children. And while that can still include some inspiring and hope-filled content, there also needs to be some depth and weight to what you’re teaching them.
This is where I want to challenge you with some questions to help you figure out if your messages have the necessary depth and Scriptural content to assure your congregation is being challenged and convicted each and every Sunday.
Just like last week, I would encourage you to consider your answers to these questions and think about if there are areas of your sermon preparation process or your content acquisition process that you can make improvements to.
- Do I start writing a message with an idea or do I start writing a message with a passage of Scripture? If I start with an idea, am I being diligent to still put the focus on what God says about that topic?
- Do I continually point back to Scripture throughout my message, or do I only refer to it at the beginning or the end of the sermon while the rest of the content is more inspirational or motivational?
- Am I using Scripture to formulate thought-provoking questions that I can ask the congregation during the message?
- Am I being diligent to preach about the tougher topics discussed in Scripture, or am I mainly gravitating towards positive topics/stories in the Bible?
- Do I regularly preach about sin and repentance, allowing my congregation to look inward and making space for the Holy Spirit to convict them and prompt them to repent?
- Do I use more quotes from other people than I use Scripture verses in my sermons?
These are some great questions to think about not just today, but periodically throughout your time as a pastor, so you can make sure your messages are including spiritual and Scriptural depth. Just like you go to the doctor every year or two for a check-up, you should also perform check-ups on the way you carry out your ministry as a pastor to make sure you’re staying true to God’s Word and that His Word is the foundation of everything you communicate.
My prayer is that these last two weeks have been challenging and thought-provoking for you as you reflect on the content you’re preaching each week and that the Lord continues to push you, grow you, and mature you in your walk with Him so that you can lead those in your congregation to do the same.