Why People Listen to Some Sermons and Not Others

 Two sermons.

Both truthful, and biblical.

Both helpful.

But one is heard and the other is forgotten.

One is engaging and the other is endured.

One sticks, the other doesn’t. 

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We know that God’s Word doesn’t return void, and that the Holy Spirit is the One who enables someone to understand the truth of scripture. But, have you ever wondered if there are characteristics that could make your sermons more “listenable?”

There are. 

1. Your congregation, or audience, can relate to you, the speaker.

Relevance isn’t using a certain kind of vocabulary or showing video clips or dressing in a trendy fashion. It’s truly understanding your audience. It’s knowing their world, their dreams and their fears.

If you want people to listen to you, relate to them. Find the common ground that exists between your audience and your experience.

2. They care about the topic.

Just because YOU care about the topic doesn’t mean people in the congregation care about the topic.

Just because YOU are passionate about this doesn’t mean they are passionate about it.

Just because YOU have thought about it all week doesn’t mean it’s even crossed their mind.

It’s the speakers job to talk about what’s at stake and bring the listener into the topic. Failure to do this in the first five minutes is essentially permission to check out. If you don’t create concerns, you’re telling everyone “move along…nothing for you here.”

3. The sermon is good.

Not all sermons are created equal. Two messages can be equally truthful and Biblical, yet one will receive a much different response. The difference? One was crafted with skill, written with the audience in mind, edited with fervor and practiced like eternity hung in the balance.

Don’t use the Sovereignty of God as an excuse to prepare lazy messages.