I’ve been visiting churches here in NC and trying to find a place that I love, where I feel like I fit and I can grow. It has been hard! First of all its so weird to visit churches alone. Its even more awkward when NO one talks to you. The largest church I visited has 5-8,000 people and 3 campuses, the one I visited last week had only about 100.
Each week I walk out of church naming the positives. They had great music, they had lots of greeters, the announcements were well done, but also each week I leave not even remembering what the sermon was about. I take lots of notes. But the point of the sermon wasn’t clear. There was no “takeaway”, nothing to remember it by. Nothing making me want to change, or do, or act in any way.
So I began praying, is it just me? Am I not prepared enough when I go to church? Am I missing my own personal devotion time too often? Am I being too critical? And I started paying MORE attention, taking more notes. Really digging into the sermons and still…nope.
This sermon from Northridge really hit me. David was talking about how we grow. And one part he mentioned what a good sermon should consist of.
A Practical Sermon should be:
Accurate: Here’s what the bible says and here’s what it means
Clear: Are people able to in 30 seconds say here’s what it was about, here’s what I’m supposed to do
Compelling: motivates you to DO something
If the sermon is only:
Accurate & Clear = intellectual exercise, leads to spiritual pride (Doesn’t cause you to want to change)
Clear & Compelling = motivational talk: moralism
Accurate & Compelling = emotional, moves you but you are just not sure what you’re supposed to do.
And after hearing that, I thought back to all my weeks of visiting churches and thought “AHA!” This is what they are all missing. They are confusing. Their points don’t make sense. They start with one topic and end with a point about something entirely different. No wonder I am so frustrated! I want going to church to be a positive experience. I long for the community and the fellowship that I have had before. I want to learn and grow and change.
This week, since friends were visiting and left Sunday morning, I just went to church in my living room and watched last weeks sermon from Northridge. That feels like home.
Next week I’ll get out there again, and visit another church, but for now, I’m thankful for David and I desperately miss my people, my community, my home, my church.