This is post number two in a series I am writing about sermons. (you can find others in this series here.)
I am working on a post where I critique a modern problem with sermons. I thought it only fair that before I shared that, I critique something I did which I still regret years later. I won’t share details, because that isn’t the point.
A new family was coming to our worship gathering. They seemed lovely. There was an issue that was important to them. Those of us in leadership knew it. And we decided to address in it a Sunday morning sermon. I don’t remember exactly what I said, and while my view has likely shifted some, that isn’t what matters.
As people were leaving, a guy who had been at our church a while came up to me. He was a really gentle and kind person, and he was angry. He let me know exactly what he thought of my sermon.
I don’t know if I agreed with him at the time, but he was right. He continued as part of our church. The new family did not. They never returned.
And whether what I said was right or wrong, the problem is that I hid behind a sermon. I used the power inherent in that 30-minute monologue in a way that I should not have.
That was probably over 15 years ago, but it still feels fresh. If I had it to do over again. I would have spent more time building a relationship with that family. And I don’t know that I would even ever broach up the topic…unless they brought it up.
But what I am convinced of is that any conversation we had would have been as people, on equal footing, trying their best to follow Jesus and understand and love each other.
The sermon was not the place that should have been addressed.