Friday, January 29, 2010

Here We Are Now, Entertain Us....

Pete at Postmodern Bible has blogged some more on the CODEC survey on sermons, and what people expected, and got, through the preaching in their church:

Respondents were asked what they wanted a sermon to do and also what they thought preachers actually did. The top results across all denominations for what congregations want were:
Challenge 77.4%
Encourage 74.2%
Motivate 66.8%
Educate 44.7%
Entertain 12.1%

When we asked them what preachers actually did the numbers shifted a little:
Challenge 67.9%
Encourage 76.1%
Motivate 52.2%
Educate 53.8%
Entertain 25.5%

What's going on here? Apparently, three quarters of respondents felt that preachers manage to encourage their congregations, with a similar number challenging them. However, despite 2/3rd of respondents expecting sermons to motivate them, only about half think that this is achieved.

So the message is: fewer jokes and Greek verbs, more challenge and motivation. Which all begs the question of what the sermon is actually for in the first place, and whether people's views of what to expect have been formed by being in a certain context, or by thinking through issues of communication, discipleship, and Christian teaching.

more at Pete's blog. He summarises: What is absolutely clear is that people across the denominations want challenging, provocative preaching that encourages them and moves them on. If they can be entertained as they receive this, then all the best.

I've been meaning for a while to devise a brief response form for sermons at our church. It's probably a question of courage, more than anything else....

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