One of the challenges with being a preacher or teacher is saying the same thing over and over. Repetition is one of the trademarks of an excellent ministry. The Apostle Paul shared his testimony three times in the book of Acts. He told the Church at Corinth that his only message was Christ and him crucified. Even Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapter 5-7 and then delivered a similar sermon called the Sermon on the Plain in Luke chapter 6.
I am sure some people grow weary of repeatedly hearing the same things, but for the most part, it is a necessary part of the ministry. I say this for at least four reasons.
- Some people may have never heard. Every week our Church has people visiting with us during our worship program. At least monthly someone new arrives who has never been to a Church worship program. We repeat ourselves so that everyone has a chance to hear the basics of the faith.
- Some people may not have paid attention the first time. It is easy to get distracted. This can be from outside sources like a child or a noisy adult. This can also come from internal sources. Many times, I have been listening to a sermon, and the preacher said something that made my mind run off to other places and passages of scripture. I missed what was said next as my mind was off in a distant thought.
- Some people need reminding. Even if you heard the message a few months ago, it is easy to forget what you learned. When I am preparing a sermon on a familiar topic, I usually look up my old sermons because even I have forgotten what I said. If I forget, I am sure other people have done the same.
- Some teachers offer a fresh perspective on an old truth. Some of the best sermons I have listened to were ones where I already knew all the content, but it was unfolded uniquely. This process opened my eyes to long-forgotten material in a new and exciting way.
The recognition of a preacher or teacher delivering familiar content is not to be feared but instead embraced. There are truths of the gospel that never change, and this week, that one old lesson might change someone’s life.