I noticed it in one of those 17-minute TV commercials that run during the late, late, late show. You know — the commercials that sell record albums that are always “not available in any store.” (I usually figure the stores know something I don’t.)
This commercial was selling an album of gospel music — nothing unusual about that — but then I noticed an important addition: a sermon. They were selling a sermon right there in the late show! And not just any sermon; this was a sermon “that’s sweeping the nation!” I don’t remember the preacher’s name, but he must have something going for him — none of my sermons are sweeping the nation. (My wife does sweep around them occasionally, but that’s another story.)
After hearing that commercial a couple of times, it occurred to me that those folks may have discovered the secret for successful preaching in the 90’s: mass marketing. Why limit your homiletical gems to one congregation when you, too, can have sermons that sweep the nation?
I called a local advertising agency (Hype, Bluster & Bluff Associates, Inc.) and “pitched” my idea. Sure enough, after a momentary bit of disbelief, they began to see the potential for this kind of thing. After all, with more than 200,000 churches in the U.S. — and that doesn’t even include royalties from sale of foreign rights — proclamation could be profitable if properly packaged.
They’re working on a TV spot right now that you can expect to see soon – provided you occasionally tune in on the late, late, late show. I’m not supposed to let this get out (competition and all that), but I’ll pass along a bit of the script if you promise to keep it just between us:
“Now available only through this special TV offer — it’s more than an album, more than a compact disc. Not available in any store, it’s the collection of heavenly messages that’s sweeping the nation …”
(I’m glad they got that one in.)
“You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll be astounded by the feeling of inspiration you receive right in the comfort of your own home. No noisy children to avoid, no cranky ushers to encounter, no pesky offering plate under your nose — just 100 percent blessing with a full, money-back guarantee.
“You can enjoy ‘Solid Gold Sermons’ right away by calling our toll-free number. Operators are waiting; have your VISA or MasterCard ready. That’s ‘Solid Gold Sermons’ — specify long-playing album, cassette or compact disc. Call today.”
If things go well on this one, there could be a movie deal in the works.
It is a joy to congratulate our Associate Editor, R. Albert Mohler, on his call to serve as Editor of The Christian Index, the publication of the Georgia Baptist Convention. Al will begin his new work in Atlanta on June 1.
Best of all, Al will continue his involvement with Preaching, as Associate Editor and as writer of “The Preacher’s Bookshelf,” one of our most popular features.
All of us at Preaching extend our prayers and best wishes to Al and Mary as they step into this exciting new place of service.

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About The Author

Michael Duduit is the founding publisher and editor of Preaching magazine. He is also the founding Dean of the new College of Christian Studies and Professor of Christian Ministry at Anderson University in Anderson, South Carolina. Michael is author and editor of several books, including the Handbook of Contemporary Preaching (Broadman & Holman Press), Joy in Ministry (Baker Books), Preaching With Power (Baker) and Communicate With Power (Baker). From 1996 until 2000 he served as editor of the Abingdon Preaching Annual series. His email newsletter, PreachingNow, is read each week by more than 40,000 pastors and church leaders in the U.S. and around the world. He is founder and director of the National Conference on Preaching and the International Congress on Preaching, which has been held in 1997 at Westminster Chapel in London, 2002 at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and 2007at Cambridge. He has been a pastor and associate pastor, has served a number of churches as interim pastor, and speaks regularly for churches, colleges and conferences.

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