Difficult to Apply?
In our pastor’s meeting we have been discussing why it is, in spite of our efforts, that we still often get feedback from our congregations that our sermons don’t have ‘enough application’? Add this to the oft-levelled criticism of Sydney evangelical ministers that our sermons are ‘text-heavy’ and ‘practical-light’. So I’ve been doing a little bit of thinking about how to do ‘application’ better.
On one level, some of the criticisms can be unfair and may stem from a misunderstanding of what ‘application’ ought to be. But on another level, there is a good amount of truth in it. Personally speaking, it’s only been in the last couple of years since I’ve been listening to sermons widely that I’ve seen the gaping holes in my sermons when it comes to application. I’ve been especially helped by pastors such as Mark Driscoll and Tim Keller in this regard. I never realised how shallow my sermon application has been at times until I really thought hard about what these men were doing in their preaching and reflected on how they did it so well.
So here’s what I’ve been learning about application and what I’ve been trying to apply. I shared this at our staff meeting yesterday and the feedback was that it was helpful. This will have to be an ongoing series of posts so I’m just going to give the headings for now: