I don’t remember your sermons but I remember your friendship

Sermon takeaway

A little bit of humour for preachers here. I posted it on my Facebook page today and an old friend from Swiss days commented that he didn’t remember my sermons but he remembered my friendship.

What to make of that?

Two general thoughts:

1: Neither my friend’s comment nor the (tongue in cheek) pie chart should discourage my preaching friends from their task. If you are faithfully preaching the word of God, it  is the word of God. You may not be able to measure the incremental ways God has spoken through your preaching to challenge an attitude, to encourage faith, to speak into a decision that someone in your congregation needed to make. You might not remember the details of every cooked meal you have eaten over the past 30 years, but without those meals, you would not be who you are today!

2: At the end of the day you may not turn out to be one of the 21st century’s great pulpiteers. You may preach few sermons whose content proves to be truly memorable, but your people will remember if you were kind. They will remember if you loved them.

By all means prepare well (it’s Wednesday evening as I write this and the countdown to Sunday is underway): you will serve no one by preaching a badly thought out sermon.

But it could be that, once all is said and done, and you have done preaching, you will be remembered more for the way you related to people than for the splendour of your expositional skill!

2 thoughts on “I don’t remember your sermons but I remember your friendship

  1. I think a false dichotomy is created when we pit being a great friend against “splendor,” expositional skill and great “pulpiteering”.
    A preacher cannot be a great friend to every woman and child in the congregation, as much as he may wish he could. What he can do, and should do, is preach the word *faithfully*. It may not be what the people remember best, but it’s what they need the most, week after week.

    1. I don’t think preachers need to choose between the two. We need to preach faithfully and point people to the grace of the Lord Jesus: there is no excuse for careless preaching; but the reality is that some of our people will remember us more for a simple act of kindness than they will recall the details of many of our sermons.

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