Sermon Illustration: The Wrong Question
Below is an illustration I used recently to conclude a Vision sermon for our campus. It is a personal story, but one that can be easily applied with any preacher (especially if you and your wife are due a brunch together!).
On Sunday, December 31st, 2017 my wife and I didn’t attend a church service. Our children were with grandparents. We stayed home and went to brunch later in the morning. The brunch was fantastic.
This never happens. I don’t remember ever being at home on a Sunday morning. I usually leave between 6:30 – 7:00 AM and get back home around 2 PM. I am never home on Sundays. I woke up that morning with ZERO responsibilities or obligations to be anywhere. Again, fantastic. I sat at my desk journaling, while sitting in my pajama bottoms, drinking hot coffee, staring out the window at the super cold yard. Did I mention it was fantastic?
I was struck with this question in my mind: “Why would ANYONE want to get up and go to church on a morning like this?” Good question. I thought. I continued to write out some ideas and make a list of why people should get up and go to church on Sunday morning. It was a good list. My Sunday School teacher from 1987 would have been proud.
But then I took my dog (Eddie) on a short walk around the neighborhood.
And then Katie and I got in the car to drive to our brunch destination. This meant we had to drive through our neighborhood.
It quickly became apparent that the question I was asking myself was no longer relevant. My thinking was, “What do I need to do as a pastor to attract people to come to church?” That was a good question 10-15 years ago. But what I learned from observing my neighborhood that Sunday morning was that nobody – and I mean nobody – is thinking about why, or IF, they should get up and go to church. Not a creature was stirring all morning. Not even a mouse.
Currently, we live in an era where some guests will come and “kick the tires.” Some who are lost and searching and unchurched or dechurched will come on our campuses and “give God another shot.” And we need to do all we can to leverage that and make it a Gospel drenched and meaningful experience for them. But I fear that is happening less and less.
I was asking, “Why would anyone want to come to a church campus on a cold Sunday morning?” I need to be asking, “What is the church going to do to go to those who aren’t even thinking about coming to them?”