My friend Eric at “A Pilgrim’s Progress” is in a bit of a dilemma. He talks about it briefly in aÂ post called “50 Reasons for Discussion.” As a pastor of a traditional baptist church, Eric is in charge of a preaching sermons… probably two or three per week. Recently, on a Wednesday evening, he led the church in discussing a book. This is what he said:
The point was that we discussed it as a group. As we talked, there was a spirit of community, togetherness, and mutual edification. I know I gained a lot from it and I think everyone else did as well.
As I think about this, I have to say that I’m beginning to seriously doubt the effectiveness of what is known as “the sermon.” One-way communication is just not that effective. Might there be a way to take the existing sermon and transform it into more of a group discussion? I’m pondering this.
First, I think that Eric has noticed the same thing that I’ve noticed. “The sermon” is not all it’s cracked up to be. Notice, I didn’t say “teaching” or “Scripture”, I said “the sermon.” There’s a HUGE difference.
Second, the church benefits when they hear from one another, not just one person – regardless of how trained or talented or gifted that one person may be – and Eric is a talented teacher.
So… I thought I would ask my readers on Eric’s behalf. Do you have any suggestions for moving a group from relying on a monologue sermon from the same person week in and week out toward mutual teaching that would include discussion?