Preaching Articles

A recent Wall Street Journal (July 19, 2012) article highlighted the Dull Men's Club of Pembroke, Mass.—a weekly gathering of older fellows which celebrates their mutual…well, dullness.

The story cited one member "who knows all the U.S. presidents' middle names and can recite the alphabet backward. Another member, Frank Tobin, might bring a picture of an antique car and award a $2 bill to whoever guesses the make and model. Attendees have discussed hummingbirds and studied park benches around the world. They debated raking leaves versus letting them lie.

"Believe it or not, we spent two and a half meetings on which way to put toilet paper on the roll, over or under," says another regular, Ken Girten, a 76-year-old retired banker. "It was pretty much tied."

In a culture obsessed with activity and extremes, it's not surprising that some turn—slowly, of course—to the more mundane. "We're all supposed to be busy, busy, busy, but what's wrong with being ordinary?" says Leland Carlson, a retired tax attorney in Chappell, Neb., who runs the national Dull Men's Club website—a loosely organized online community for "good citizens who are not setting the world on fire," and which inspired the Pembroke club. The club, which started in the 1990s, now has 5,000 members, up from 3,000 five years ago.

Which got me thinking about the church…Surely in the midst of booming megachurches with their crackling-good communicators, there must be a place left for the ordinary. Did I hear someone say "Boring Preacher's Club"?

The Boring Preacher's Club never would meet at Starbucks—too trendy. More likely, it would gather at Cracker Barrel. While the Dull Men's Club has a T-shirt with the slogan "Dull but Never Boring," I don't think the Dull Preacher's Club would want to spend money on shirts. Besides, a little bit of boring can build character.

Imagine the fun you could have at the weekly meeting of the Boring Preacher's Club:

• Reciting the list of the kings of Israel—backward

• Analyzing the various types of seeds grown in first century Israel as a way to liven up sermons on the Parable of the Sower

• Discussing the positive aspects of the elder brother in the Parable of the Prodigal Son

• Reviewing the pros and cons of the Dewey Decimal System vs. the Library of Congress indexing system for the pastor's library

•  Reminiscing about favorite church history lectures from seminary days

• Recalling the joys of old-fashioned typewriters

• Wondering whatever happened to the Jebusites

Let me know if you decide to start your own chapter of the Dull Preacher's Club. I might decide to join—when I find the time to be bored.

Dr. Michael Duduit is executive and founding editor of Preaching magazine and the founding dean of the Graduate School of Ministry at Anderson University in Anderson, South Carolina. He holds an M.Div. from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. from Florida State University.

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Gene Cobb

commented on Oct 11, 2012

Humor! And on a Thursday morning! That's certainly not dull! Enjoyed this! And having been in the ministry for 30 years (hard for me to believe) and Pastoring at the same church the last 19 years, let me say there has never been a dull moment. Then I thought, small town in a pretty rural area of southern Michigan, small church (100 active members, more that claim to be members, but we never see them) and a beautiful older building that we strive to keep beautiful! We are already dull. I can't name the kings of Israel backwords, but I do regret giving away my manuel typewriter! But since I am female, it will be fun to hear from the "dull man pastors." Blessings, Pastor LaFern

Myron Heckman

commented on Oct 11, 2012

In my club we recommend at least five cross references per sermon point, and any good illustrations are worth using two or three times per year. And don?t forget to explain the nuances of Greek verb tenses. That pluperfect can bless hearts.

John Fanning

commented on Oct 11, 2012

My friend and colleague for 35 years - Myron Heckman - speaks from experience! I've heard him preach! I would add my own contribution: At least one D.L. Moody story from "Knight's Book of 6,000 Sermon Illustrations." (circa 1950's)

Dan Jackson

commented on Oct 11, 2012

Oh Michael, I love your humor. I have enjoyed it for all the year's you've published Preaching, from the first issue. Delightful article!.

George Warner

commented on Sep 28, 2020

I would like to see the QWERTY key plan abolished and computer keys arranged in common sense (alphabetical) order. I guess the qwerty plan dates right back to the days of early typewriters, was one man's idea, and nobody knows why we've all been manipulated into accepting it. Dissenters would probably say that searching for the letters is good exercise for the brain. My reply to that is prove it. Lots of people would probably welcome a common sense key plan and agree that life is tough enough without people making it unnecessarily harder for their fellow humans. Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery.

Tim Johnson

commented on Sep 29, 2020

George, that's boring! Thank you, I needed to hear that this morning!

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