Why the Sermon Series Theme?
Our team often decorates each sermon series with a theme of some sort. Why?
Short Answer: Jesus did it.
Long Answer: At PromiseLand, we are very intentional about reaching all types of people in the congregation. Everyone from first timers to old timers listen in the audience. Every one of them have a ‘gate keeper’ in their brain that tells them, “Don’t listen to this. You have already heard it before.” Doctors have studied “Broca’s area” of the brain and have determined it is “the theater critic of the imagination, the part of the human mind that anticipates and ignores the predictable.” Basically, if your brain predicts that it has heard the information already, then it quits listening and begins thinking on other more interesting things. (read more about that here)
Our job as speakers is to break through the Broca area of the brain and let people know that they haven’t heard this before OR you have never heard it like this.
So this is what our team does in sermon prep:
- Pray about what scriptures God is wanting to speak to our congregation – This takes days, weeks, months. We continually ask God what our church family is needing to grow in AND how to present the message of salvation to unbelievers.
- Study the scriptures– Read. Reread. Read again. Study commentaries. Ask other people. Read again. Pray. Fast.
- Organize the scripture into themes or topics that are easy to understand. We want to the messages to logically continue along a path that is easy to follow.
- Application – Brainstorm how this message is either missing or misunderstood in our church culture. Talking to congregation. Asking questions. Reading papers. Studying secular and church culture (compare and contrast)
- Breaking Broca – Most likely the majority of our church has already read or heard about this passage or Bible story. They think they know what we are going to say before we say it. We want their brains to at least give us a chance to present the information. We do this several ways
- Controversy – How do we disagree with the standard way of thinking? There is a healthy amount of controversy that gets people to thinking. Presenting a dissenting opinion should be done within your personality type and natural. Some people are more natural at pulling off ‘in your face’ messages than others. Truth needs to be told regardless. However, each speaker needs to find the appropriate avenue.
- Cultural Themes – We use pop culture icons, TV Shows, Movies, news stories, or any other popular theme or topic to give our sermon a ‘shell’. It is simply a parable like Jesus used. A story that gets people to think about the eternal truth without them even realize it. You are about to drop a bomb and their brain doesn’t realize it. The brain is engaged and that opens a door for spiritual transformation.
- Humor – Nothing engages the brain and opens the heart like humor. Find your personality and go for it. Don’t try to be Jim Gaffigan or Jim Carey. Be you.
- Multimedia – We use videos, songs, skits, sounds, lights, etc to keep people mentally on track.
What about the Holy Spirit? Shouldn’t we just talk and allow God’s Spirit to engage their minds and hearts? Of course we desire the Holy Spirit to be at work at the core of everything we do. You can have all the gadgets and creative elements and COMPLETELY MISS what God is wanting to do through the flow of His Spirit. Churches get in trouble when they follow that list above from bottom to top. For example, they see a theme and really like and then try to create a biblical message to fit the theme. That is the wrong way to lead a congregation. Our team will compile a list of exciting themes, but we keep them on the side until we see a Biblical message that it applies to.
What about you? What kind of process do you have? What kind of themes or methods do you use to break Broca?
Posted on January 22, 2014, in Church Business and tagged boring sermons, brain research, breaking broca, broca's area, creating sermon topics, exciting sermons, roy williams, sermon prep, wizard academy. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.
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