Thursday, August 13, 2015

Sermon killers

My friend Dave, who pastors a church in my neighborhood, reminded me of a story that used to show up in sermons from time to time.

After the war, a soldier who was severely wounded was returning home. As soon as he entered the states, he phoned his parents to say he was bringing with him a buddy who had lost (fill in the blank–an eye, a leg, both legs, etc) and was confined to a wheel chair. He wanted the guy to live with the family and promised that he would take care of him. The mother said, “Now, honey, we appreciate your compassion and your dedication to your friend. But this would be too heavy a burden on your family. This is not a good idea.” A few days later, the family got word that their son, the one just home from the war, had ended his own life in a hotel in a distant city. When the remains were shipped home, the family discovered he had one eye, one leg (or no legs), etc. He had been telling his parents about himself.

Dave and I agreed that such a story, whether true or untrue–it’s impossible to know–is a show-stopper. A sermon killer.

Let the preacher tell such a story and no one will hear a word he says afterwards. The congregation will be sitting there reflecting on that story, grieving and imagining and reflecting.

The wise preacher will never tell a story that clobbers his sermon and destroys the point he was trying to make. Keep reading

No comments: