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There’s nothing like a good snoozer of a sermon. We’ve all sat through them. We’ve all given them at one point or another. But what does it take to preach a sermon that makes your listeners fall sound asleep? What does it take to defy everyone’s ability to pay attention? If you aspire to give boring sermons that help your people catch up on rest while you preach, here are five easy steps:

1. Don’t adequately prepare. 

The first step to get everyone shutting their eyes is to not prepare. This part is easy. You want to stand up and not have anything of substance to say. You want to just repeat some things you already know and have already said so they will check out and go to sleep.

2. Have no clear focus. 

You need to be totally unclear about the direction you want to take the sermon. Your people will pick up on this and decide it’s not worth listening because you haven’t figured it out yet. Follow every rabbit trail in your head so that your rambling doesn’t support your point at all (because you don’t have a point).

3. Lack passion. 

If you’re excited about what you’re doing you’ll keep everyone awake. You want to come across as dull. You should seem somewhat underwhelmed by your content. Make sure everyone scratches their heads wondering why you even bothered.

4. Give an illustration that has no reasonable connection to your sermon. 

Take people down a disappointing journey of disconnected applications. Make them so frustrated and confused that they give up trying to connect the dots and fall back asleep.

5. Preach too long. 

This is the final step. If everything above has failed to put everyone out, then it is handy to have this in your back pocket. Just keep preaching. Go on and on and on. In time, it will do the trick. If the first 30 minutes didn’t knock everyone out, try another 10 or 15, hey even 20. The key is persistence. Don’t give up until you are certain that the only person listening is you.

Bonus!

Use big theological words and don’t explain them. Use them as a way to show your people how smart you are. Make sure your language is so disconnected and confusing that your people give up trying to understand what you’re saying and go back to sleep.

I promise if you’ll put these steps into practice on a regular basis you’ll have a room full of sleepyheads in no time.

What are some characteristics of boring sermons? What are some things you’ve done to avoid putting your people to sleep?



Lane Sebring is a teaching pastor, speaker and author. He leads The Current, a worship gathering of young adults, in Northern Virginia. He created PreachingDonkey.com, a site to help preachers communicate better.  He has a B.A. in Communication from the University of Central Oklahoma and a Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. He lives in the Northern Virginia / DC area with his wife Rachel and their daughter, Olive. You can connect with him at twitter.com/PreachingDonkey and facebook.com/PreachingDonkey

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Talk about it...

Anthony Collins

commented on Apr 9, 2015

Is this a negative 5 point list? :) You might not get that slight humor, but others will, I hope.

John Sears

commented on Apr 17, 2015

Someone has read more than one article on this sight. Clever.

Mitchell Leonard

commented on Apr 9, 2015

I LOVED THIS ONE!! I might try some of these out Sunday. Well, maybe I better not. God bless!

Tom Smith

commented on Apr 10, 2015

One of my Seminary instructors told us newbee's, "Please do not be a boring preacher. If you cannot avoid being boring, change professions, used car salesman come to mind". And of course he was, oh, so, right.

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