Many of us have to admit the truth. Sermons can be a waste of our time. Way back in the foggy world of 1971, Henri Nouwen suggested that most sermons suffered from redundancy of the message. His observation was that people would sit (or sleep) through a message that they had heard “repeated so often and so persistently that it has lost, for the majority of people, even the slightest possibility of evoking any response.”  And it’s true today still. Many preachers fall into a rut. 50 out of 52 weeks a year- the same delivery, the same outline, the same demeanor, the same call at the end. “If we say that preaching means announcing the good news,” Nouwen said, “it is important to realize that for most people there is absolutely no news in the sermon.” (32) In many churches, almost nobody listens to a sermon with the expectation of hearing something they haven’t already heard over and over and over and… This sort of boring repetition, one in which the congregation can predict the message and get a power nap, creates a sense of senselessness for those who attend.
More and more, people refuse to sit through the re-runs that are happening every Sunday in their local church. Fewer and fewer people are willing to sit through another message as if they were watching the same canned-laughter sitcom episode for the 30th time.
So, in your opinion, what makes a bad sermon… and what could make a sermon good? Preaching is supposed to be an engaging communication of the Good News of Jesus Christ. What barriers disrupt that purpose? (What makes a sermon bad?) What components make a message “good” and “news”? (What makes a sermon good?)
 Nouwen, Henri J.M. Creative Ministry (New York: Doubleday, 1971), 32.
 Ibid., 32.