Now it is true: people do forget a large chunk of what we say on a Sunday morning. Nobody from the audience will be able to recall your 30-minute sermon word-for-word. It’s just not humanly possible. However, they will remember something. They will either remember the key points you were trying to make—or they will remember that there was nothing worth remembering at all. Here are some common reasons why people have a hard time recalling even just the main points of a sermon:
(1) They weren’t paying attention. Don’t be fooled. They may look like they’re listening but what’s really occupying their mind is their “crush” sitting three pews down.
(2) They weren’t interested. Some people really don’t see how your sermon affects them. When that happens, their minds stop engaging with whatever you’re saying. Words enter one ear and make a run for the other.
(3) They were confused. If the audience isn’t sure what to remember in the first place, they can’t remember it. It’s just logical.
Now there may be a genuine spiritual problem in your church which prevents people from reaping the benefits of even the best sermons. You will need to address that issue on a spiritual level. However, also consider that there may be a genuine communication problem on your end. Your chosen speaking methods may be hindering the message from becoming as clear, relevant, and memorable as it could be.
Just because our congregation won’t remember everything we say doesn’t mean we can keep dishing out mediocre sermons. I believe we should continue to develop our skills by learning and using some of the best speaking methods out there. This will help us communicate God’s Word in clear, relevant, and memorable ways. We’ll discuss in future articles how to increase the chances of our sermons being remembered and applied.