Let’s be honest. Some sermons are either not very well prepared or presented. I have heard them, and I have preached them. Even the best preachers in the world have some weeks that just fall flat. I thought an idea was good. I put together a sermon I found interesting, but something was wrong. Eyes glossed over, and people started the head nod that comes not from approval but from their battle with sleep. I have repeatedly said that it is difficult to come up with 52 educational, engaging and challenging sermons each year. All of us preachers are bound to have some boring ones sooner or later.
If that is the truth, what do you do during a boring sermon? Even if it is not boring, it might be on a topic of which you have little interest. What do you do when the sermon is not connecting? How do you get something spiritual out of the time you have invested? Here are some tips for your future.
1. Read the Scripture. Many sermons are based off one passage of scripture. I focus my attention on that passage and read it. I read the passage ahead of it and behind it. Maybe God wants me to hear something from these stories, and I want to make sure I am fully listening.
2. Take Notes. I always have a pen and paper with me when I hear someone speak. I write down the speaker’s main points and scripture references. I try to totally engage in the sermon even when the preacher is losing me.
3. Write Down Any Random Ideas that Come to Mind. Sometimes a statement in a sermon will spark something else in my mind. I recently heard a boring sermon, but he said one line that made it all worthwhile. I have gotten several sermon and blog ideas while listening to a boring sermon – including this one.
4. Pray for the Preacher. When all else fails, I begin to pray for the preacher, the rest of the sermon and the other people listening. What is being said may not hold interest for me, but I pray someone is being blessed by the preacher’s words. I ask God to do a miracle in the auditorium. Honestly, I have even prayed that prayer in my mind when one of my sermons was going poorly. “Please God, let someone get something out of this” is a valid prayer.
5. Do an Internal Inventory. Ask yourself, “Is the reason I am not engaged the preacher’s issue or mine?” Are you distracted from the things of God? Maybe the problem is not the preacher, maybe it is me. Do I need more rest? Are there sins that need to be addressed? Do I have the right attitude toward God and his word? Sometimes the best thing I can do it think through my own spiritual life.
Let’s be honest. It can be hard to sit still and stay awake through a long and boring sermon. We have all been there, even people in my congregation. Since you have set aside time to be at Church or listen to a sermon you might as well make it productive for yourself spiritually.
What do you do when the sermon gets boring? (Be gentle with me:-)