Two: Tell us why this sermon is of interest, not just “what it’s about.”
Now, pastors are notorious about this. We will study all week on a lesson and preach it to ourselves a few times and pray over it intensely. But we fail to do one more thing, the single thing that could move it from average to world-class sermon: We fail to figure out why any outsider would want to make the effort to come and hear it.
That’s not hard to do, incidentally. It just requires a little more effort. You stopped your preparation too soon, preacher.
Pastors generally preach for the crowds that sit before them week after week. And that’s understandable. In an audience of 100 in a typical church, 90 attend regularly and the other 10 are first-timers. The 10 will not be voting on your pay increase, will not be determining whether you keep your job, and will not be sitting on committees to help plan your projects. So, unless reaching “the other ten” is a matter of urgency to you, you fail to consider them in your preparation and prayer. Therefore, they get overlooked in the actual preaching. But on Facebook, when you are inviting them to church, you can’t think of any particular reason why they would come to hear the sermon. That’s why what you write is so mind-numbingly boring.
Sorry for that. But it’s the truth.
I suggest you take lessons from Andy Stanley on this. Read his newest book “Deep and Wide” to see how he preaches to the outsiders and newcomers. He has a lot to teach the typical pastor. (Don’t get me started on my ministry-colleagues who respond that you don’t like Andy Stanley for one reason or the other. Come on, man. Whether or not you like him is beside the point. You cannot deny that he has reached a lot of people for the Lord whom you and I were missing altogether. Andy deserves a listen!)
Three: If you expect people to respond to the sermon snippet you give on Facebook, you would do well to let us hear from you throughout the week on other matters.
The great thing about Facebook (and perhaps other social media) is that you can build a relationship of sorts with hundreds of contacts through regular statements on various issues. In time, people will feel they know you and when you announce you are preaching in Sundown, Nebraska, those in that area will make an effort to hear you.
To do that, you need to do several things–
–post regularly, every day or so, and even several times a day if you have something interesting or clever or relevant. If you heard a great joke, tell us! (Can you hear me begging? I love a great joke.)
–post varied items. It could be something you read that fascinated or angered or moved you. If it’s side-splittingly funny, you will be quoted and requoted all over the place. Be original or helpful or insightful or funny and soon you’ll be getting requests to “befriend” every day.
–keep it positive and encouraging. People who get on Facebook in order to slam the present administration in Washington, criticize other denominations, or run down liberals, will soon find themselves speaking to their inlaws and no one else. No one wants to read your constant rants, even if they agree with you. It’s too depressing.
Tell us what you are for, what you believe with all your heart, and what happened this week that you will never forget. Tell us what made you laugh today and what made you cry.
Let us know you as a whole human being, pastor. Then, perhaps we will want to come hear you preach, or accept the invitation to visit your church.