The Sermon Sucking Black Hole: Why You Can't Remember on Monday What Your Minister Preached on Sunday

The Sermon Sucking Black Hole: Why You Can't Remember on Monday What Your Minister Preached on Sunday

by David R. Mains


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Very little communication takes place between most pastors/priests and their congregants regarding the weekly sermon/homily. This lack of constructive dialogue has resulted in Sunday messages that are not only out-of-touch with where parishioners are living, but for the most part what’s said isn’t remembered much beyond the church parking lot.

Dr. Mains contends that people in the pew can best judge when a sermon is helpful to them and when it isn’t. So why not include them in the process of both preparing and evaluating sermons? Not preaching the sermons. . . . .but again, preparing and evaluating them. He makes these changes sound so simple and practical that you can’t help but wonder, “Why weren’t these ideas implemented years ago?”

Most people in the pew don’t realize how integral they are to finding a solution to this problem. But the pulpit/pew combination can be an incredibly powerful team, so let’s begin to work together to help solve this mystery of what’s happening to sermons.

This is not a negative book or one that only points out problems. Instead, it’s a positive, practical and encouraging read that should fill you with hope for not only your local congregation, but churches everywhere.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781630474218
Publisher: Morgan James Publishing
Publication date: 05/12/2015
Series: Morgan James Faith Series
Pages: 200
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.56(d)

About the Author

Dr. David R. Mains left pastoring to spend over two decades in media ministry. "You Need to Know", which he hosted and produced, won the 1995 National Religious Broadcasters’ “Television Program of the Year” award. His 15-minute Chapel of the Air was heard Monday through Saturday on over 500 radio stations across North America. He and his wife, Karen, have written over three dozen books, including national-award-winners such as "The Kingdom Tales Trilogy."

Read an Excerpt

Black holes are strange invisible phenomena in outer space that form when stars collapse and their mass becomes highly compressed. This creates a localized gravitational force—an inward suction—powerful enough that even the star’s light cannot escape. Larger black holes can exert an attraction so strong that nearby planets, comets and even other stars are pulled in over their rim—what astrophysicists term the “event horizon”—never to escape from this amazing vortex. As more and more objects are drawn in, the black hole grows in size and gravitational force.

By way of a limited example, our own Sun has a diameter of about 865,000 miles. To become a black hole it would have to collapse upon itself and be compressed to a diameter of less than four miles! Yet its dynamism would be such that it could just suck up nearby small heavenly bodies—pflump!

More typically, Sagittarius A*, the black hole in the Galactic Center of our Milky Way (yes, there is a black hole smack in the middle of our galaxy), measures 14 million miles across, and its gravitational pull is correspondingly much greater.

I’m not an astronomer, so I can’t take you much further down this scientific path. Rather, I’m an ordained minister whose job it is to help others in my profession with their sermon- and service-planning.

It’s my privilege to confer annually with hundreds of pastors, and, to my surprise, some of my colleagues infer that a “black hole” exists on their church property. They figure this sinister force is located somewhere between the pulpit and the parking lot, and it sucks up sermons! Ministers suggest this because parishioners who say as they leave the sanctuary, “Nice message, Reverend,” moments later remember very little of what they heard. Something akin to a black hole swallows up the minister’s sermon, so that before worshipers are halfway home, they have already forgotten most of what was said.

For me, this concern of the clergy is regularly underscored when I randomly ask friends later in the week what their minister preached about the previous Sunday. That may seem like an odd question, but these people know me and treat my inquiry as naturally as they would a car dealer asking, “How’s the Mazda running?”

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: The Sermon-Sucking Black Hole

Chapter 2: The Best Sermon Judges

Chapter 3: Two of the Four Simple Sermon-Evaluation Questions

Chapter 4: Do You Know How to Do That?

Chapter 5: How Long Is It Going to Take?

Chapter 6: Becoming Your Pastor’s Supportive Friend

Chapter 7: The “Sunday Search” Game

Chapter 8: Soliciting Listener Input

Chapter 9: Living a Lie Isn’t the Answer

Chapter 10: The Sermon as Part of a Whole

Chapter 11: Rat-a-tat-tat: The Power of Repetition

Chapter 12: Practice Planning: Mother’s Day

Chapter 13: Mother’s Day Sermon: A Working Draft

Chapter 14: The Ultimate Compliment

Chapter 15: The Joy of Fishing

Chapter 16: Leaving the Sidelines

Chapter 17: We’re Not Perfect, But We’re Making Progress

Chapter 18: Partners in Sermon- and Service-Planning

Chapter 19: Laughter, Creativity and Productivity

Chapter 20: Star Nurseries

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