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There is a world of difference between preaching a sermon and living a sermon. No amount of study can compensate for deficiencies in your life. You can “study it” but if you aren’t “living it” it’ll ring hollow. 

The opposite is true as well. Jesus’ teaching was authoritative because it was backed up by his life. You can’t back up your sermons with a seminary degree. You’ve got to back it up with your life. My advice? Don’t just get a sermon. Get a life. Then you’ll get a sermon!

Let me be blunt: if your life is boring your sermons will be, too.

If you have no life outside of church—no hobbies, no friends, no interests, no goals—your illustrations will feel canned, your applications will feel theoretical instead of practical, and your sermons will be lifeless instead of life-giving.

The greatest sermons are not fashioned in the study. They are fleshed out in the laboratory of everyday life. Now please don’t misinterpret what I’m saying.  You need to study to show yourself approved and rightly divide the word. So keep studying! In fact, study more. But you can’t just study the word. You need to live it. The most powerful sermons are well-studied and well-lived.

At the end of the day, God won’t say, “Well studied, good and faithful servant.” He won’t say, “Well thought” or “Well said” either. There is only one commendation: “Well done.”

Now let’s be brutally honest: Most Christians are educated way beyond the level of their obedience already! We don’t need to know more, we need to do more. That’s why I think sermons should focus on application more than interpretation. Theological doesn’t mean theoretical. In fact, as you get a life, your messages will be less theoretical and more experiential. You won’t just preach your sermons. You’ll incarnate them! 



Mark Batterson serves as lead pastor of National Community Church in Washington, DC. One church with multiple locations, the vision of NCC is to meet in movie theaters at metro stops throughout the DC area. NCC also owns and operates the largest coffeehouse on Capitol Hill. Focused on reaching emerging generations, 73% of NCCers are single twenty-somethings. And 70% of NCCers were unchurched or dechurched before attending. Mark is the author of In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day and blogs @ www.markbatterson.com. He lives on Capitol Hill with his wife, Lora, and their three children.

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Fred Miller

commented on Jan 25, 2014

Well said! This concept needs to be carried right on down into the congregation and out through their efforts in sharing Jesus with their friends, neighbors and co-workers. Make it a Great Week!

Brad Brought

commented on Jan 25, 2014

WOW, I needed to this great reminder. Thanks Mark...Now, on to applying this truth!

Darrell Logan

commented on Jan 25, 2014

This was the most enlightening article/advice read/given. As a senior grad student in seminary school its emphatically taught differently. I have always been told what a great sense of humor I posses, but when I preach feel constrained not to be myself; under the tutorage of being scritually sound and sticking to the theology. I have realized I sound boring to myself at times but conscious not to deviate from the topic. Thank you for writing this, letting me know its alright to include a little livihood, humor. Keep up the Excellent work and I'll look forward to reading something from you again real soon.

Nom De Plume

commented on Jan 25, 2014

Hi Darrell, If I might throw in my two cents, for I mean not to dictate to you, but I would highly encourage you (like you've been doing) to focus on the content of your message and less with the delivery.

Keith B

commented on Jan 25, 2014

So....become a better preacher by being able to tell good stories about yourself? Sorry...but the Bible isn't about you, Mark. It's about what Jesus did for us.

Willy Ricafrente

commented on Jan 25, 2014

Blessed day to you Keith. I agree with you that the Bible is not about us but I am feeling that what Mark meant was how the Bible made him the person he is. Its how the Bible saw him through his experiences; good, bad or otherwise. I do not think that Mark will ever even think to glorify himself using the Bible. I agree with you though in terms of the temptation of preachers to give credit upon what they have done rather than what Jesus have done. God bless you and your family Keith!

Bill Williams

commented on Jan 26, 2014

I second Willy's comments. Would you be so kind as to show where in the article the author talked about telling good stories about oneself? Because I don't see that he wrote that. Is it possible that you misunderstood his intent?

Keith B

commented on Jan 26, 2014

Isn't that the point of living an exciting life? So you can give illustrations from life?

Bill Williams

commented on Jan 27, 2014

Um...I'm not sure you and I are reading the same article. Because if that's the "point" you got from the article, you really missed the point! The author didn't say anything about "living an exciting life." And the use of illustrations was only one small phrase of one sentence in the entire article, hardly the subject of the article as a whole! The point of the article was that the Word we preach in our sermons must first be incarnated in our lives. Otherwise, it's meaningless. Let me give you an example. In our previous conversation, you expressed a burden to call out Perry Noble for his "false teachings." But I pointed out, in harmony with clear Biblical teachings such as in 1 Corinthians 13 and the Golden Rule, that if you call out "false teaching," but you don't do it in a way that embodies the love of Christ, then it does absolutely no good at all. I can only assume that you agree, even if you wouldn't admit it, since when I pressed you on how well you believed you had achieved your stated intentions, you didn't answer. It seems obvious to me that if you sincerely believed your snarky comments had achieved their purpose, you'd have had no problems saying so. On the contrary, I believe that if you had stated your objections to Mr. Noble's teachings in a clear, substantive way, expressing the love of Christ in your comments, and treating Mr. Noble and the congregation he leads the same way you would want yourself and the congregation you lead to be treated, your arguments would've been much more powerful. There is a power in the combination of preaching the truth AND living the truth, that just isn't there when the truth you are preaching is divorced from the life you are living. That is the point of this article. That is what I believe the author meant when he wrote, " You can 'study it' but if you aren?t 'living it' it?ll ring hollow." Your objections to Mr. Noble's teachings rang hollow in the absence of basic Christian love and respect.

Steve Fast

commented on Jan 25, 2014

Great article. I agree. Lord, help me to apply it. By the way, Mark, did you know we're related?

Charles Ingwe

commented on Jan 25, 2014

The greatest tragedy in Christian ministry is trying to do what pastor A or B is doing. The way the Lord is leading the pastor in the neighbourhood may not be the way he will lead you. The key is in establishing a strong relationship with the Lord who is building the church. He knows better the needs of each church according to the vision given. Each ministry has its divine pattern. Whilst John the baptist stayed in the bush,Christ mingled with many but yet both ministries accomplished the intended visions. Some points sound great but embeded there in are legalistic points. Be yourself and just allow the leading of the spirit who gave you the vision. His yoke is not burdensome.

Alfred Gonzalez

commented on Jan 25, 2014

I totally agree the biggest message we can preach is our full acceptance of all that God speaks to us. Jesus came as a living example of Gods love, of following Gods will even unto death and of a passion for things eternal beyond the temporal and through our study of the word and the power of he Holy Spirit we ourselves must become more Christlike. Why would anyone listen to somebody claim a truth as a meal without seeing them partake and yield benefit. The privilege of sitting at the fathers table is we walk away full and have enough to share with others. Sharing who God has been to us is easy. Its the testimony of what he has done in me. I can speak to that like no one else in this world.

Nom De Plume

commented on Jan 25, 2014

Having listened to much teaching/preaching over the years, I have found a few key elements which can render a sermon ineffective (whether it be "boring", lack-luster, dull etc.): (1) Sermons that are heavy on application and light on interpretation (2) Sermons that lack the needed and relevant historical, cultural, geographical background of a given text/passage (3) Sermons that lack deep, rich theological backdrops with which to bolster the particular teaching of a given passage/text (4) Sermons that shy away from theology (5) Sermons that lack canonical synthesis as means for support (this implies sermons routinely have doctrine associated with a given text/passage. (6) Sermons that are utterly void of the original language, grammar and syntax; which must be done carefully so as to avoid becoming pedantic and overly technical; but without which, leaves the hearer wondering "why" and on "what basis" does a particular interpretation have merit (7) Sermons that tend to lean on generic, traditional, wide-appealing content; rather than true exegesis of a given text (regardless if it is popular by the masses). (8) Sermons given by a pastor/teacher whose life is unholy, lacks discipline and is inconsistent (9) Sermons where time in study and thought is lacking. (10) Sermons from a pastor who lacks a high and proper view of the utter importance of God's written revelation. Certainly more could be mentioned, but these are a few of the core essentials. While I am not criticizing the author himself, nor trying to "bash" him or his seemingly genuine attempt to offer pastoral wisdom, I found the content of his article severely irrelevant and a missed opportunity for pastoral advise.

commented on Jan 25, 2014

Nom's additional points complement the point of this article. Except for the last sentence.

Nom De Plume

commented on Jan 25, 2014

I'm not sure what that means, exactly.

Brent Anderson

commented on Jan 27, 2014

Nom, I can't just sit here any longer. In your replies to Mark's incredible article you make some statements that I must take issue with. You stated, "Far from nit-picking or misunderstanding. . . (as I review each paragraph) is unbiblical and irrelevant." Then you wrote, "...after reading it, a few times..." When you challenged Mark's statement, "The greatest sermons are not fashioned in the study" you took it out of context. You failed to continue his thought contained in the rest of the paragraph, including his statement, "The most powerful sermons are well-studied and well-lived." You also wrote, "I'm not criticizing the author himself, not trying to "bash" him..." Sir, I don't know you or anything about you, but if your replies were anything but "nit-picking or misunderstanding" I missed it. Again, I don't know you or anything about you but my first impression is, You need to GET OUT more. I'm sorry if this offends you. I'm not trying to be offensive. The book of James tells us "faith without works is dead." My take on Mark's article is that he's saying the same thing; live out your faith in the real world in real ways.

Nom De Plume

commented on Jan 27, 2014

After reading a few responses, I do believe I have misunderstood some aspects of this article; namely, the use of words and phrases which are not biblical terms, but are rather, slang and figures of speech; these unbiblical terms lead to ambiguity (at least for me they do). The title reads, "How to Eliminate Boring Sermons"; which I took to mean literally, "How to Produce Exciting Sermons". Which, accounts for my first response that lists 10 elements for spiritually impactful sermons. It seems though, that the author means obedience and holy living by the pastor should be undertaken along with study? Regardless, the thesis of the article seems to occur in the last paragraph where he writes, "That?s why I think sermons should focus on application more than interpretation". If this is so, my first response is still relevant -- extremely relevant. I do admit though, that I did misspeak, when I used the phrase, "... far from misunderstanding"; clearly I have trouble, even now, understanding, precisely, the support for his title.

Bill Williams

commented on Jan 28, 2014

Nom De Plume, I greatly appreciate your willingness to admit that you may have misread certain aspects of the article. Just a helpful comment for the future: the title of the article is not necessarily chosen by the author. Sometimes the titles are chosen by the editors of the website, and often more for the purpose of generating traffic rather than reflecting the content of the article. Unfortunately, this has often been a source of misunderstanding for some who draw conclusions prematurely on the basis of the title, and read the article to confirm their conclusions. All this to say, don't try too hard to figure out how the article supports the title. Often, it just doesn't. Better to let the article speak for itself. Hope this helps in the future. And welcome to the conversation.

Brent Anderson

commented on Jan 29, 2014

Nom De Plume, I am sincerely sorry for the way I responded to you. I appreciate the way you articulated how critical it is for us to spend time in the Word. There is no substitute. If we discipline ourselves to study, as well as experience life we'll be able to communicate the Truth on a very personal level. May God's richest blessings be upon you and your ministry. Please accept my sincere apology.

Nom De Plume

commented on Jan 25, 2014

It seems I missed the author's last paragraph altogether; after reading it, a few times, I can think of nothing worse for the Church than what he's advocating -- this is why: Most "Christians" are NOT Biblically educated beyond their obedience; most "Christians" are Biblically and Theologically illiterate (and theology matters when it comes to living life); The Church can't "obey" until and unless the "know" precisely what and how to obey; and, application without adequate and in-depth interpretation is folly (for obvious reasons). Perhaps the quote and sentiment that summarizes the unfortunate nature of this article is that which reads: "The greatest sermons are not fashioned in the study" We may want to reflect upon that statement thoughtfully and biblically.

Art Braidic

commented on Jan 25, 2014

I think many are actually missing the point. If we only preach doctrinal, theological, grammatical sermons, we won't make the impact on the congregation unless we are living it--living what we learn. It doesn't mean to toss Christ out. For example the Savior said, said seek first the kingdom of God, and His (Christ's righteousness) in our lives of course. The article was not saying don't study. He said study, but live what you study. Become more like Christ, and then you will have a greater impact in helping the people you serve.

Nom De Plume

commented on Jan 25, 2014

At the beginning of the article, he uses the term "living it"; which I took to mean, walk holy, disciplined, sober, Christ-like lives. However, as the article progresses, it is clear that this is not what he means; rather, he means to engage and experience life so as to have more meaningful sermon. It is true that there is such a thing as "dead orthodoxy"; however, the Church today is no where near "dead orthodoxy". Instead, the focus is on experience and seemingly everything other than the Word of God. The Spirit gives life when the Word is taught clearly and accurately; moreover, the Spirit gives the message power when it is also taught clearly and accurately. Sermons are not entertainment (which our culture is addicted); sermons should stimulate and dazzle the mind/heart as we behold God. Far from nit-picking or misunderstanding, the author's over-all sentiment and thesis (as I review each paragraph) is unbiblical and irrelevant.

Linda Chambers

commented on Jan 26, 2014

The word of God was fashioned by men who were inspired by the Holy Spirit. Sermons should also be led by the Holy Spirit. However, numerous ministers rely solely on knowledge based sermons while others lean primarily on personal experiences as the basis for their sermons. There must be a definite balance between knowledge and application of the scriptures. Jesus, the master teacher used parables based on human experiences to teach his disciples. What a great article!

Nom De Plume

commented on Jan 26, 2014

A wonderful truth that I've learned is the difference between interpretation, implication and application; and that, with clear and accurate interpretation comes inherently implication (a universal spiritual principal or truth which demands action and which address all believer's in the Church universally; the sermon will or certainly should also exhort that particular implication; and, it has correctly and astutely mentioned by others, that the Holy Spirit then provides the application to each believer individually, addressing their particular situation -- something application based preaching is incapable of doing. Also, there is vivid distinction between the use of illustrations and a pastor who is continually the hero and example of his "human experience". For the good of all, it would seem wise for the pastor to refer to himself as little as possible. I have heard prudent warnings from others regarding pastors who are the hero of their own stories. Doctrine, truth and theology is never meant or intended to be an end in itself; but rather a means to an end; and that end is for the Church to glorify the Father, submit to the lordship of the Son, and obey the Holy Spirit as he's given us obligation through His written word. Obedience by love should be the net result of doctrine and theology; not mere academics and head-knowledge.

Edmund Chan

commented on Jan 26, 2014

"The most powerful sermons are well-studied AND well-lived" (emphasis mine) ~ True. It's NOT either-or but both-and.

Andrew Benedict

commented on Jan 27, 2014

Well said!! That's what made Jesus's sermons powerful and convincing in contrast to the pharisees' teachings that we sound theologically but lacked life and power!

Zachary Bartels

commented on Jan 27, 2014

I like to mix things up by going to extra-biblical sources for a sermon's authority (rabbis, anyone) as well as into my own imagination for some crazy-make-em-ups! Once you do that, you can wind up with all sorts of fun, non-boring, non-Bible stuff. Like Circle-Marker Prayers!

Bill Williams

commented on Jan 27, 2014

Do you really believe that kind of sarcasm is appropriate for a Christian leader? If you have objections to the content of the article, don't you think you would make a better contribution to the conversation by simply stating what your objections are and why you disagree? Or is the purpose of your comments solely to make yourself feel morally superior to the article? If so, that is really sad.

Keith B

commented on Jan 28, 2014

The apostle Paul made a play on the idea of "cutting off" to suggest that the Judaizers would "cut off" their genitals. Are you REALLY that offended by what Zachary had to say?

Bill Williams

commented on Jan 28, 2014

Yes I am, and I'll tell you why. With the exception of Romans, Paul had a personal relationship with every church to which he wrote a letter, including Galatians. People who use Paul as a justification to say all kinds of nasty, unkind, unloving things, overlook the extremely important fact that Paul KNEW these people personally, and he LOVED them, and they knew he loved them. Now, if Zachary knows and loves the author, and if the author knows he love him, then that certainly changes the context of the remarks. If Zachary informs us that that is the case, then I stand corrected. I don't have any problems admitting if I have misspoken. Another thing that many often overlook is that the same Paul who talked about the Judaizers cutting off their genitals, ALSO wrote, "Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person" and "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear." So, I guess my question for you is, are you REALLY that opposed to speaking to people in a loving and respectful way, especially to those you don't even know personally?

Bill Williams

commented on Jan 27, 2014

You know, it distresses me quite a bit that for some "Christians" it is not enough to say in a loving, respectful way, "I disagree, and this is why..." For some Christians, they also have to be snarky, sarcastic, rude, etc. How sad. I don't know who Nom De Plume is, and I don't agree with his interpretation of the article. But brother, whoever you are, I appreciate that your comments are substantive and that you give reasons for your objections. I think these conversations would be much more edifying if people disagreed as you do.

Nom De Plume

commented on Jan 28, 2014

Disregarding the title, I still had some difficulty interpreting his words and phrases (unfortunately he doesn't use biblical terminology). Does he mean that the pastor should walk in obedience outside of the pulpit? And, that sermons should focus less on interpretation and more on application?

Bill Williams

commented on Jan 28, 2014

I'm not quite sure what you mean that he doesn't use "biblical terminology." He uses words like "preaching," "authoritative," "study," "life," "obedience," etc. These are all words used in the Bible. I guess I'm wondering if there is something specific, some specific term or wording that you're looking for, and that he's not using. But even if he doesn't use the "biblical terminology" that you're looking for, he does use pretty basic English, so I don't think his main idea is that difficult to find. Perhaps English isn't your first language. Regardless, for what it's worth, I believe that his main point is what you wrote: "The pastor should walk in obedience outside of the pulpit." Or to put it a different way, we who preach must live the truth that we preach. The purpose of "getting a life," as he puts it, is not so we can have exciting lives so that we can tell good stories about ourselves, as some have misunderstood. The purpose of "getting a life" is to be able to incarnate the word of God in that life. Not only that, but when we preach, our goal should be to help people incarnate God's word in their lives as well. I believe that is what he means when he says that sermons should focus more on application than on interpretation. Not that interpretation is not important. I'm sure he would agree that it is. But knowing what the Bible means is worthless to our listeners if we don't help them learn how to live what it means. For example, a sermon on 1 Corinthians 13 should not just focus on what "agape" love means, as important as that is. But it should also help the listeners understand HOW to express "agape" love in their lives. I hope this has been helpful.

Keith B

commented on Jan 28, 2014

Bill, what makes you think you're the expert on what Mark Batterson has to say on the topic? He said that to be able to preach effectively, you need to have a life. He would appear to be suggesting that if you do not have hobbies, friends, interests and goals....you will not be relevant. Look at what Mark has taught in the past: He wrote a book about a Jewish legend named Honi...who drew a circle and got in it, refusing to leave it until God answered his prayer. That is neither a Biblical story, nor a Biblical concept of prayer. Batterson is NOT teaching the Bible--at least in that book. I have no reasonable expectation that he meant what you're suggesting he meant.

Bill Williams

commented on Jan 28, 2014

I'm no more of an expert on what the author has to say than anyone else commenting here. Nor have I claimed to be an expert. Just like you and everyone else who is commenting, I'm just going by how I understood the article. I don't know what Mark has taught in the past, but it's certainly possible that if you do, you have a larger context for interpreting him than I do. I'm just going by what I read in the article. Now, to the specific point, let me ask you a question, just out of curiosity: do you have any hobbies, friends, interests, or goals? I don't need to know what they are, I'd just like to know if you have any.

Nom De Plume

commented on Jan 28, 2014

Oddly enough, English is my first language; however, I've been known to be a bit dense at times. This condition of mine could very well be the case in my difficulty in comprehending; but, the author uses such terms as "living it", "get a life", " Then you'll get a sermon". He also states, "if your life is boring your sermons will be too" (what in the world does that mean and how does that relate to godly obedience?); moreover, he states that "If you have no life outside of church?no hobbies, no friends, no interests, no goals?your illustrations will feel canned, your applications will feel theoretical instead of practical, and your sermons will be lifeless instead of life-giving". I wonder what the apostle Paul would have thought about that statement; for he had no hobbies, no interests and no activities that did not pertain to the gospel. Lastly, but not exhaustively, his assessment on Biblical literateness of the professing church is completely out of touch with reality. Terms like "be imitators of God", walk in obedience", "doers of the word not just hearers" and the like are terms that reference the scriptures and call for precise action. From top to bottom, regardless of how this article is interpreted, the message is unfortunate. I would comment on 1 Corinthians as your example of application, but do not want to bore you with novel. Trying to keep things pithy -- not my strong suit.

Bill Williams

commented on Jan 28, 2014

Thank you for elaborating, I think I have a clearer idea of where you're coming from. Yeah, he uses common English vernacular that I suppose some people may not be familiar with. I don't think it's a matter of being "dense," necessarily. I guess it's more an issue of familiarity with such vernacular. His statement, "If your life is boring your sermons will be too," is explained by the following paragraph: "If you have no life outside of church?no hobbies, no friends, no interests, no goals?your illustrations will feel canned, your applications will feel theoretical instead of practical, and your sermons will be lifeless instead of life-giving." I don't think Paul would have an issue with that statement, and I don't think it is accurate that he had "no activities that did not pertain to the gospel." After all, he was a tentmaker by profession. That would be included, I imagine, as "life outside the church." Paul had a full-time job, something outside of church, something that afforded him the opportunity to "practice what he preached." That's all the author is saying, I believe. I'm not quite sure I know what you mean that "his assessment on Biblical literateness of the professing church is completely out of touch with reality." What I believe he is saying is that most Christians KNOW a lot more about the Bible than what they actually put into practice in their lives, and if I'm understanding that right, I don't believe he is out of touch with reality at all! If your experience is different, well, you're very lucky. My experience, on the other hand, confirms his assessment. For example, I know plenty of people who know the Golden Rule (treat others the same way you would want to be treated yourself), but who do not, in fact, treat others the way they would want to be treated. I know plenty of people who know that the Bible says not to gossip, but who do so anyways. I believe that's what the author was trying to say by that point. I hope this has been helpful.

Nom De Plume

commented on Jan 28, 2014

BTW: thank you Bill, for the information regarding the title -- helpful.

Nom De Plume

commented on Jan 28, 2014

To all who wish to comment: What is more important during a sermon: application or interpretation. Why? Thank you to all who comment.

Bill Williams

commented on Jan 28, 2014

Good question! Here are my own two cents worth, not my understanding of what the author was saying...I think both application and interpretation are EQUALLY important. Rather than being opposed to each other, I see them as interdependent. Without proper interpretation, one will not apply the Scriptures correctly. On the other hand, without proper application, correct interpretation will not do us any good. So, in a way, asking which is more important, application or interpretation, is a little like asking which is more important, inhaling or exhaling: you can't really do one without the other! Having said that, I believe that in any given sermon, the FOCUS can change. In some passages, the interpretation is pretty straight forward. When preaching those passages, the sermon can focus more on application. Other passages, on the other hand, are harder to understand. These passages will require focusing more on interpretation when preaching before one can move into application. So, my short answer is: both application and interpretation are equally important during a sermon, but the focus on one or the other will depend on the passage that the sermon is based on.

Brent Anderson

commented on Jan 29, 2014

Nom De Plume and everyone else on this thread, please accept my sincere apology for being "snarky, sarcastic, rude, etc." when I responded to Nom's reply on Monday. I was out of line and it won't happen again. My God's richest blessings be yours as we serve Him together.

Nom De Plume

commented on Jan 29, 2014

No problem, Brent. I wasn't offended or insulted. But, thank you for being sensitive to your conscience and wanting to glorify Christ through your speech.

Bill Williams

commented on Jan 29, 2014

Brent, I am greatly encouraged by your humility and your grace. May your tribe increase on this forum! Blessings to you!

Rob Tennant

commented on Jan 30, 2014

I think this article is simplistic. The general premise is right, preachers like all humans need full lives. I think that is self-evident and has been common knowledge at least since I was in seminary 20 years ago. There is nothing new, revolutionary, or even insightful here. This is content all preachers should already know. He also says, in the same paragraph, "the greatest sermons are fleshed out in the laboratory of everyday life" and "study more." So which is it? Are we to invest ourselves in "everyday life" more, or are we to "study more." Which is it? There are only 24 hours in a day. Human beings cannot increase there participation in everyday life and "study more" as Batterson says. To increase time given to one activity is to take it from another. I also have a problem with the whole notion of "if your life is boring, your sermons are boring." One person's boring is another's fascination. But the good preacher's skillful oration can take an activity that might bore someone and describe it so passionately the listener is thrilled. So the whole "boring life = boring sermons" is not accurate. "Boring" as it relates to sermons is thoroughly subjective. I have had people tell me they love a sermon I gave. Others, listening to the same sermon, have no idea what I was talking about. Some listeners enjoy an outline and sermons that go verse-by-verse filling in the blanks on the outline. Other listeners would be put to sleep by such an approach. I think "boring" is not a helpful word in advising on how to preach difference-making sermons. In general, I agree with Batterson's premise - that preachers need outside interests and full lives. I totally agree. I think his depiction of it is too easy. I think his presentation is thin and could be more fully fleshed out. Maybe that will be his next book?

Bill Williams

commented on Jan 30, 2014

I don't know if I'd go as far as calling the article simplistic. But I do agree that the general premise is self-evident and common knowledge. And yet, often times we do need to be reminded of truths that are "common knowledge," for these are often so very easy to forget! As far as the presentation being thin, well, I guess there's only so far you can go in one hundred words! Perhaps the purpose of the article was not so much to be comprehensive on the topic, but simply to remind us of something we likely already know, and encourage us to flesh this truth out more fully in our own lives. The same, I would say, would go for the question you posed: which is it, "live more" or "study more." And I imagine the answer is, only YOU can answer that for yourself. There may be some reading this that need to close a book and begin to put in practice the things they already know. Others may need to study more and think through more careful why they are living as they do.

Jordan Brawner

commented on Jan 30, 2014

Nothing true IS new. Great communicators find new ways to say old things. It maybe content we all have known, but like everyone, we forget too. So the article is a good reminder to help us re-examine and re-orient our lives as preachers. I believe your "which is it" question is a false choice. Many of us, not all, can identify other things in our lives that we can shrink or cut out. The point you made on boring as it relates to sermons, truly is something we all know is subjective. Another persons interests or opinion doesn't help us discern if we are living a boring life. One question that can help us is this: Are you excited about the life your living? Are you passionate about the things you are pursuing? If the answer is "no" or "I'm not sure" (which would have been my honest answer at certain points in my life), then you might be living a boring life, and that will affect your sermons... Mark's article is not simplistic, its simply stated in my opinion.

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