What’s the Point?
By Bill Tenny-Brittian

We were asked recently to revisit some of the basics of what it takes to grow/transform a church. Recently I attended a church that has plateaued in its average worship attendance (AWA) at about 400. Although there were a number of improvements they could make so their worship service would draw and keep more attendees, I believe the biggest error I noted during the service was the lack of a So What? in the sermon.

Once upon a time it was widely thought that by providing the “right” information, that attending worshippers would ponder the message and make life application of the sermon’s topic. To do otherwise, according to pundits, was to “dumb down” the sermon, the worship, and ultimately the church.

Well, today with 98 percent of all US churches either plateaued or in decline, we’re apparently going to have to do some of the intellectual work for our guests if we’re gong to introduce them to Jesus and the Kingdom of God.

So, here’s the leadership tip of the week. When you write your sermon, if you can’t state in one sentence and bullet points the practical life-coaching application that an unchurched person is supposed to “get” and put into practice the following week, you’re unlikely to grow your church, and you’ll most likely find yourself leading a declining churches in short order.

Here are two examples of what could be (and need to be) the So What’s in today’s sermons:

  1. Followers of Jesus take responsibility for their spiritual development by
  • Studying the Bible at home
  • Praying about any and all decisions
  • Building spiritual accountability relationships
  1. Followers of Jesus take their faith to work with them and
  • Behave as if Jesus was their co-worker
  • Behave as if Jesus was their employer
  • Behave as if everyone we interacted with knew we claimed to be a follower of Jesus

If your sermons are that practical for real life, then those who are visiting are unlikely to “get it” anyway. And who are we kidding, many of our existing congregants aren’t putting what we’re preaching into practice, so perhaps by “dumbing” it down to something that’s practical, they’ll “get it” too.

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