By now (I hope) you know what you are preaching on Sunday. But do your people know?
Does that matter? I think so. When I watch a movie, I want to know what it’s about. I don’t need to know the whole plot or story line, but knowing the nature of the film is helpful. The same is true with TV shows and books. Though the information might be minimal, it prepares us for what we’re going to watch or read.
Your church probably has an email list. I want to suggest that you send an email to your people on Friday or Saturday with the following information:
- Remind them that there is a worship service on Sunday and encourage them to attend. In a day when “regular church attendance” is often viewed as twice a month, it doesn’t hurt to include a line that conveys “I’m hoping to see you on Sunday morning.” And on occasion, a kind admonition as to why they ought to come is certainly in order.
- Tell them what passage you are preaching from and encourage them to read it before coming on Sunday.
- Give them the basic theme of your sermon. You might be reluctant to give away the “punch line.” But you can identify the topic and possibly also indicate why it is important.
- If there are important announcements, briefly list them. If your people get used to relying on the church bulletin and your email, you won’t have to spend as much time making announcements during the worship service.
You could approach this by inviting people to sign up to receive your email, but I’d encourage against that. You have the list, and while you don’t want to abuse that, you’re not going to be overtaxing their inbox with a short email. And it needs to be short. If it takes them more than a minute to read it, they may not bother.
We need to pull out all the stops when it comes to helping our people engage with the sermon. An end-of-week email can do that. A mid-week email briefly identifying the main points of your sermon and the main application can also be a helpful way of refreshing their memories.
You probably won’t see the results of this practice, but I do believe it is helpful. Let me encourage you to give it a shot.
A friend of mine has a funeral today, and I was reminded of the great opportunity funerals provide for preaching the Gospel. It’s almost a guarantee that you’re going to have unsaved people present at every funeral. They may be friends, neighbors, co-workers, and even family members. And they need to hear the Gospel message.
I was sharing with my friend that I purchased a quantity of Randy Alcorn’s booklet on Heaven. He has written a full-length book on the subject, but this little booklet, available at Amazon for $1.99 is contains some biblical answers about life after death and a clear presentation of the Gospel. Near the close of the service I would say something to the effect that a the loss of a friend or loved one reminds us of our own mortality. Then I would invite people to take a booklet if they had questions.
We had a ledge on the back wall of our auditorium that was a perfect place for a couple dozen booklets. I would suggest that you put them somewhere close to where people naturally pass by on their way out, but not in a place where it looks like you’re hawking them. And by all means, don’t charge for them.
I hope you have a good weekend of ministry! Whether you are preaching, teaching, or engaged in some other form of ministering to your people, may God bless your efforts to serve him!