What Should be the Focus of Sunday's Main Service's Sermon?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by InTheLight, Jun 14, 2013.

  1. InTheLight

    InTheLight
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    Looking for opinions on what the main theme or focus of the main Sunday morning service sermon should be. Should it be:

    Evangelistic--how a person gets their sins forgiven and gets to Heaven
    Instructional--why we believe what we believe, doctrinal studies
    Inspirational--how to live a victorious Christian life
    Practical--how to pray, how to witness, how to raise your children, how to have a successful marriage, etc.

    If I've forgotten a theme please add it.

    I realize that the ideal answer would probably be a combination of all these elements. OK, if you think that, please list by percentage how much weight should be put on each theme.

    I ask because my church's sermons are approximately 80% evangelistic and 20% inspirational.
     
  2. saturneptune

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    A very good thread. It has always been the pattern in our church to have the Sunday morning message focused on the lost, and preaching on some aspect of Scripture that shows a need for Jesus Christ as Savior. Sunday nights have always been focused on Christians and the need to have a close fellowship with the Lord and eyes on Jesus as we live our daily lives. Wednesday nights are for Bible study and doctrine.
     
  3. preachinjesus

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    Though I think you can do all four in a good sermon, my approach (on Sunday mornings) is inspirational and practical. All of my sermons point others to Chirst and leave the listener with the call to salvation and renewal.

    However, I've found that my strengths are in these two areas and it allows us to place instructional at a deeper level outside Sunday mornings. As we track our folks, we have our largest segment (naturally) on Sunday mornings. Though our groups are strong (and those that meet on Sunday morning have great track) outside of Sunday we see a dramatic drop in attendance. Part of living in a fast paced metro area.

    My hope in my sermons is that folks are challenged, loved, encouraged, and sent off after having heard from the Holy Spirit.

    Great thread idea.
     
  4. saturneptune

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    Not to get off course, but I was wondering if your church is like ours. For a given number on Sunday morning, about half will be there Sunday night. Then, on Wednesday night, about half will show up that were there Sunday night.
     
  5. Thousand Hills

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    Christ Crucified, everything else should flow from that or circle back to that.
     
  6. PeterM

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    The "traditional" model has been:

    • Sunday Morning: Sermon is prepared with "evangelism" as the primary objective. The message is kept intentionally simple and the "fruit" is hung low on the tree... if not on the ground.
    • Sunday Evening: The sermons are a little "deeper" in terms of exposition, but the focus is still primarily evangelistic.
    • Wednesday Evening: This might be as deep as it goes. Format is less a preaching time and more of a teaching time. In some contexts, dialog is encouraged from pastor/teacher to the participants.
    • Sunday School: In traditional settings, this is intended to be a genuine teaching time that is rooted in the relationships that group/class share together.

    The problem with following this pattern is that the largest gathering will occur on Sunday morning... the next largest will be on Sunday evenings and on down the line. If your church family even still has a prayer gathering, that will be the least attended. The immature/nominal believers are rarely exposed to the depths of God's Word, instead are continuously evangelized.

    In recent years, progressive churches (methodologically, not biblically) have released this model in favor of a more balanced approach. While the gospel is presented in every gathering, the full text is exegeted with the understanding that some is going to go over the heads of the immature and some is going to go below the more mature disciples. The goal being to both encourage and embolden the hearers to not just consume sermons, but to intentionally apply them to daily living.

    This movement has also yielded another change in the Sunday morning gathering... no more 20 minute sermonettes. Previous generations of pastors/preachers we taught that most could not handle more than 20 to 30 minutes. The problem with that, is that many if not most people have no problem sitting through an hour long TV show, a 2+ plus hour movie, or a 3 to 4 hour sporting event.

    Not everyone here on BB may appreciate some of the younger pastors/teachers, but there are guys out there who consistently preach for 45 minutes to an hour every Sunday, are reaching people, and serve growing faith families. Some of them are reformed, some aren't.

    Either way, things are changing...
     
  7. InTheLight

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    This is the type of service I wish we had on Sunday mornings. I would think even the unsaved would see value in getting practical Christian insights to life's problems and stresses. Hopefully the idea is that they would see that the Christian approach works, that people in the church are genuinely happy and confident and therefore they would want to have what these people have found. Of course the plan of salvation should be presented but need it be given for 25-30 minutes per every 40 minute sermon? I don't think so.

    I would think a (non-Baptist) visitor might come back the next week if it was announced, "Next week's sermon topic will be on why Baptists insist on dunking people" or "Why we don't recite the Lord's Prayer" or "Why communion is not a sacrament". There's plenty of room to get the plan of salvation in those topics and they would be instructional and interesting.

    For a while I attended a mega-church in our area and the sermons were always interesting, thought-provoking, and instructional. I remember a series titled "Things That Aren't in the Bible". Things like "God helps those that help themselves", "when a window closes God opens a door", "God will never give you more suffering than you can handle" etc. Very good series.
     
    #7 InTheLight, Jun 14, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 14, 2013
  8. preachinjesus

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    Well, we don't have activities or services on Sunday night and have no services on Wednesday night.

    The challenge is that people have compartmentalized Christianity to Sunday morning (and even that is getting short-shrift these days.) Our goal isn't to change the culture, we can't. Instead, we offer venues and avenues to help people grow and see their lives changed. After many years of trying to make Sunday night work and pouring tons of hours and money into Wednesday night we changed and have not seen a decline.

    We attempt to move people into places and activities that will help them grow. We validate their growth and talk about how others should do these things. But we can't force people. :)
     
  9. preachinjesus

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    This is kind of our approach. It works for us. It might not work for others.

    If your services end up being a theological exercise the untheological won't return. We talk practically and inspirationally. We provide a path and avenue for making disciples.

    I grew up in the hellfire and damnation world. Too often I heard people remark that if they went home and felt good about themselves after Sunday they knew something was wrong. I don't buy that practice.
     
  10. agedman

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    I am going to suggest that what Paul stated is most important.

    "For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food."​

    THIS is the one of the most central problems with the "modern church."

    The assembly IS NOT for the lost. The Sermons are to build up the body of Christ.

    Does that mean that there should not be some evangelistic appeal made to the unsaved. NO.

    IT MEANS that the focus of EVERY worship service is to edify the body, to teach and instruct that the believers are properly equipped to go from that assembly into a heathen contemptible world, and evangelize.

    That also means that there are times when the assembly should schedule special "evangelistic" meetings, in which the services are geared to the lost and the days are spent by the assembly in outreach programs.

    I do not find in Scriptures where the preaching that went on in the assembly was not like the letters Paul, Peter, John, Luke, James, and others (depending on who you think wrote Hebrews) wrote.

    I do find in the Scriptures plenty of evangelism but it was always conducted in heathen places (synagogs, outdoors, king's court...), however when the assembly met, it was to edify the believers - not win the lost.
     
  11. Zaac

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    We should always be pointing people to Christ, be they saved or unsaved.And as all Scripture is about the person of Christ, we should make it a point to mention his death, burial and resurrection so that all may know how to be saved.

    But key to Sunday morning/evening fellowships is to remember that the Church is for equipping the Body of BELIEVERS not the evangelizing of the lost.

    One of the primary reaons the majority of churches are so anemic in growth is because the congregations expect the pastor to do the evangelizing and so we bring folks to church. But the pastor is supposed to be equipping the congregation to BE the church in our homes and communities.

    2000 people can take the word to their communities a lot faster than waiting for the pastor to do it.
     
  12. Alive in Christ

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    imo it should be whatever the pastor believes that God wants him to give, at that time. if it means dumping what he had planned, for something improvised ...so be it.

    Its all about what God wants.
     
  13. Zaac

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    And God has already made clear what the purpose of the gathering together is for.
     
  14. Revmitchell

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    Paul answered this question with great clarity:

    2Ti 4:1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom:
    2Ti 4:2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.
    2Ti 4:3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,
    2Ti 4:4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
     
  15. Alive in Christ

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    And God sometimes wants wants to change the plan..
     
  16. Zaac

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    That's ridiculous. The plan was put in place before any of us were in existance. It hasn't changed as God hasn't changed.

    We just think we know better.

    The coming together is for the equipping of the Saints, not the lost.

    We are to GO! and take the Gospel to them, not bring them to the Gospel. so many have adopted this lazy formula of "I'll just let the pastor do it". And that's what the pastor is supposed to be feeding us to do.
     
  17. Alive in Christ

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    Thats all fine and good But God is still God, if He directs the pastor to go in another direction, the pastor has no option but to go with God.

    It has happened in my baptist church many times, and great blessings occured.
     
    #17 Alive in Christ, Jun 14, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 15, 2013
  18. SolaSaint

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    I read all your posts on this subject and I begin to wonder if this is a Baptist BB? Or maybe Baptists are not what they used to be.
     
  19. Alive in Christ

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    Baptists come in many stripes. And "autonamy" is of great importance to us. We disagree sometimes, but we seek to "disagree-agreably.:thumbs:

    Good night. I need to sleep now
     
    #19 Alive in Christ, Jun 15, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 15, 2013
  20. Zaac

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    Again, we are mature Christians so lets discern as such. God isn't doing anything in contradiction to His word.

    If He says it's for one thing, HE is not going to direct you to do something else. Now man may take it upon himself to go another direction, but GOD ain't sending him that way.

    He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. Matt. 5:45

    Don't be confused about God's blessings. He blesses the disobedient too.
     

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