By Andrew Fu:
On the last morning of the young adults retreat, we had a theological session where we heard an audio track of an interview. In it, the interviewee stated that a congregation should not pay too much attention to the preacher, but the message, hence it was not that important who was delivering the sermon.
I remembered disagreeing passionately on the above point. I pointed out that it was unfair on us, the receivers of the sermon, to have to listen to a boring pastor delivering the message and not have a preference for a livelier pastor. Also, the onus is on the pastor to engage the audience.
I would like to now share what happened recently. On one Lord’s Day, the Pastor preached his sermon. Personally, I never could pay attention during his sermons. When I found out that he was the Lord’s messenger, I was quite ‘sian’ but I thought ‘it was about time’ I did something about it (since it was just after camp). Hence, I studied the passages the Pastor was using for his message, and ensured I had sufficient and comfortable sleep on Saturday night. On the Sunday morning, I woke up earlier to read through the Scriptures again, and prayed for God to prepare my heart and mind for worship and the message. In addition, I also ensured I left home for church slightly earlier, so that I could reach the chapel and obtain a seat without hurry. With about 10 more minutes to go before the commencement of the 0830 service, I did silent meditation and asked God again to help me worship Him in Spirit and Truth, and to be able to focus on the message later.
Well, I was able to… and took down notes of the important points (you can contact me if you want the notes).
Am I taking back what I said earlier about a pastor’s style on delivering his message? I’m not. I still feel the pastor has to present his sermon in a style that is reasonable to congregation’s attention span. However, I believe I only saw one side of the coin. If we know that a pastor whose sermon we cannot connect to is preaching this Sunday, it is up to us to make the extra effort to make that connection. We cannot choose our Sunday preachers, but we can choose what we want to do about it.
If the pastor is responsible for delivering the message, then we are responsible for receiving it.