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fun – jeremy selfe

Fun 2.0


How many sermons have you listened to in your lifetime? When you actually think about this question it is quite scary how quickly the number can begin to rise. This makes the next question a bit daunting. How many of the sermons that you have listened to can you remember? Is it just me that finds the first number quite high and the second number quite low? As I look around church on a Sunday morning only one or two people are taking notes which means either the entire congregation have unbelievable memories or they might share with me in forgetting much of what they are listening to on a Sunday morning.

There are sermons that I heard two weeks ago that I have already forgotten, however, there are other sermons that I heard over 15 years ago that I still remember vividly. This led me to ask myself; what is it that lodges a sermon deep in my mind to be forever remembered?

I am going to pose something that I believe some of the preachers I listen to leave out of sermons, yet it is the difference between whether or not I forget the sermon quickly (perhaps even struggle to pay attention) or remember it for years to come.

I believe some preachers forget to include: FUN!!!

This is actually one of my pet peeves. Church, scripture, prayers and theology can become so serious that I sometimes think people forget that God is also about fun, celebration and life to the fullest!

I want to make it clear that when I say fun I don’t mean to dumb the sermon down and not to preach biblical truths or to leave out all theology whatsoever. A quick look at my bookshelves shows that I am an academic at heart who loves to understand complex truths. When I say fun, it is not so much about the content rather about how we deliver that content.

For example, what was the difference between the classes at school that I loved compared to the classes that I struggled to keep my eyes open in? The teacher had a unique way of making the class fun and come to life and this actually lead to me wanting to learn more! The content of the classes could be very similar but the method of delivery and approach of the teacher was often so very different.

Fun does not mean silliness. Fun can be engaging, meaningful, memorable, full of biblical truths and most of all full of life! Fun can be in the form of a powerful and impacting story or illustration, it can be in the tone of your voice, it can be in your passion as your preach what you believe, it can be in humour, it can be in excitement, it can be in laughter and it can be in the way you might creatively read the biblical passage. There are probably lots of other ways and methods of delivery that can help make a sermon fun and full of life.

The Angels said to the shepherds; “I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” (Luke 2:10). Do our sermons each Sunday reflect this ‘joy’, ‘fun’ and ‘life’ that is found in God?

One Comment

  1. Anthea Fairbrass says:

    I completely agree about bringing laughter and life into our sermons. Jesus undoubtedly had the disciples chuckling when he talked about the speck of sawdust and the log of wood – Bruce Marchiano captures this well in the Matthew video (; 42:45). Of course, Jesus also made some of his hearers angry, which made for a “memorable” sermon for them, but that’s another story.
    Should every sermon be memorable, able to be recalled “for years to come?” I suggest that it would be impossible for preachers to preach a memorable sermon every week. Most preachers are under enough pressure as it is, without adding (unrealistic??) expectations on as well. I calculate that I’ve heard a minimum of 2,340 sermons (at least one every Sunday for 45 years, not counting conferences, audios, etc). If I could recall them all I wouldn’t have enough gigabytes left to remember where I put my grocery list! I think it’s like eating food – each “meal” sustained me at the time, but don’t ask me to remember what I ate two weeks ago. I couldn’t even tell you what I ate at my wedding 40 years ago, and that was the second most memorable day in my life!
    That aside, you’ve made a good point. Every sermon should be “engaging, meaningful, … full of life” at least while it is being preached. There’s wonderful variety in the Bible; let’s not homogenize it by plucking texts from diverse genres and strait-jacketing them into our 3-point outline. Is it an encouraging text? Then it must be preached in an encouraging way. Is it an awe-inspiring text? How dare I make it ho-hum! Is it poetic? Then that poetic element needs to be incorporated somehow.
    Now, if I can just find my shopping list, I’ll head out to Countdown.

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