Consider for a moment that every one of us has 168 hours per week (24 hours a day x 7 days a week). The average person in the United States watching seven hours of television a day (equaling 49 hours per week — egad!). Many work 40-50 hours per week. That’s a lot of time to be influenced!
Preachers, however, only get one-half hour on Sunday morning (on average — I preach just under 40 minutes per Sunday), plus a Sunday night and Wednesday sermon/Bible study. So, of the 168 available hours in a week, preachers get 1 1/2 to 2 hours to preach the Word to their people. Can anything be done to reinforce the sermon?
Yes. I would recommend giving your people daily devotions as an insert in your church bulletin based on passages and themes from the sermon. Below is an example of what I include on the back of the sermon notes we give our people each Sunday. My sermon was on Luke 5:1-11. In this devotional, I took one aspect of the sermon, “but at your word” (Luke 5:4). As you will see, the devotionals are crafted around Psalm 119.
Treasure The Word Notes
For the Week of February 18-23, 2008
Over the past few weeks, you have had a particular passage to read each day in order to reinforce what you heard on Sunday mornings. This week, we will study just one chapter out of the Bible: Psalm 119. When you look at this chapter, you will say, “176 verses!? That’s a long chapter!” You are right — this is the longest chapter in the Bible by far. This Psalm is divided up into 22 sections of eight verses each — with each section’s verse starting with a Hebrew letter (verses 1-8 with the first letter, verses 9-16 with the second letter, etc.).
Psalm 119 takes about 10-15 minutes to read through — and it’s worth it. While we have done this exercise on Sunday nights, our entire church body would be well served to do this as well. Sonny Richardson, a pastor in Trinidad, has read through this Psalm every morning for the last thirty years — and the Lord has used this to transform His heart to the Word.
Monday, February 18, 2008: Read through the entire Psalm to get its ebb and flow. What is the basic teaching of this Psalm? What is the Psalmist spending the majority of time talking about? Does this surprise you, are is this something you would expect?
Tuesday, February 19, 2008: Read through the Psalm and make a list of all the words the Psalmist uses to describe the Word of God (one example is the word ‘law’). As you look over this list, what does this tell you about all that the Word of God is? Are there any surprises to you?
Wednesday, February 20, 2008: Read through the Psalm again and make a list of the Psalmist’s reaction to the Word (one example is the word ‘delight’). What does this say about the Psalmist? Does this describe you? Why or why not? Ask God to give you the reactions and devotions that He gave the Psalmist. See you at our Wednesday Night Bible Study!
Thursday, February 21, 2008: Read through the Psalm again. Remember how Peter took Jesus at His Word and left everything to follow Him (read Luke 5:1-11)? Do you see how the Word of God transforms our thinking and our living?
Friday and Saturday, February 22-23: Read Luke 5:12-26. Jesus heals two different people in two different situations from two different ailments. Come and see what we can learn about this extraordinary Jesus. Men, I hope to see you at the Baptist Men on Mission Breakfast and Bible Study on Saturday at 8:30 a.m. in our Fellowship Hall.
Some of you pastors with a more scholarly bent will say, “This is far too basic. I prefer more meat.” Then by all means, provide the meat. Just remember, for the majority of your congregations, you need to put the groceries on the bottom shelf. Make the devotionals not only accessible to your flock, but make them in such a way that they can use this to springboard a time of discipleship/evangelism with a neighbor or friend over a cup of coffee.
There are other ways.
- Blogs based on your sermons which will allow for interaction;
- Podcasts or any other type of sermon recording where you can post it on your church’s website so folks can take time to listen to the sermon again (wouldn’t that be wonderful?);
- Sunday Night Q&As: Every once in a while, I take time to ask the folks who come back on Sunday nights if they had any questions about anything I preached on in that morning service. Sometimes, all we have are crickets, but on occasion someone asks something. And usually, when one person asks, about ten others are thinking that same question!
Your turn! What other tools do you implement to help reinforce the Sunday sermon? I’m all ears — anything to help the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus advance!