I spoke at St B's on Sunday on the subject of serving, afterwards I was told by a visitor to the church that the sermon was "very engaging and almost entertaining...."
When I asked what he meant by that he informed me that he did not think sermons were meant to be entertaining... When I told him that I suspect many of Jesus' messages were very enteraining and that entertainment in sermons was OK - he then said well in that case it was very entertaining and still very engaging. My reputation was saved..
A very interesting idea that people get into their heads about sermons that they should be dull lifeless and boring. If they are that then how do you engage the modern audience, for me preaching is primarly about that engaging and if i entertain people in the process then surely it can add to that engagement. There is a guy from ABC in christcurch who can tell me almost word for word my first sermon i preached there, which was well over 8 years ago now. How did he remember it? Well it was the stories, the entertainment factor.
Last week I saw the movie Keeping Mum, in it the Rowan Atkinson character is a frustrated Vicar, who has the task of preaching the primary address at a clergy conference. He grips the audience with humour;
"Today I am going to talk to you about the mystery of cod...sorry that should have been God, if you want to hear about the mystery of cod than that will be at another conference."
He holds their attention then unpacks the topic, brilliant.
Engaging is essential, entertaining? Well why not...