A Difference in a Sermon and a Speech

It is important that preachers pay attention to their context. For instance, if your ministry is in a college town and the parishioners are college-educated people who place a premium on learning, then you know that you are going to have to have a teaching element in the sermon or no one will listen to you. If you are in a context where people value being a church of "Go" then by goodness, you need to be sure to have a call to action in the sermon. 

Context matters, but it is not king. Christ is King. In this sense that means the contextual must be in service of the transcendent. A sermon that is trapped and cannot transcend the context is not a sermon in my book. 

Sermons are those declarations of Good News that speak to the context but then transcend it. So if your community values learning, then the sermon must not be only about teaching. It must include a teaching element and then transcend it so that there is a call to service. The church of "Go" needs to hear the sermon that calls to action but transcends that call to include a call to worship and be still. 

Sermons that are trapped in their context are just that - trapped. There may be a good word shared, but it is not Good News. It may make the community feel good, but if the proclamation does not include and transcend the context then it is a public speech, not a sermon.*

*This post is specifically directed to all the preachers named Jason Valendy.