Browsing in the bookstore the other day — some folks jog, others work out with weights, I browse in bookstores — I came across a book with an intriguing title: 101 Things to Do During a Boring Sermon.
Having never preached a boring sermon personally, I nevertheless enjoyed flipping through a few pages (thus avoiding the $7.95 price tag). The book contains humorous little suggestions (with illustrations) of things people can do while sitting through such a sermon.
The example I remember concerned starting your own offering plate once the sermon was underway, then changing seats so the plate ends up with you. (I remember that one because I plan to try it the next time I visit my brother-in-law’s church.)
While such a book might bring a few chuckles at a deacons’ meeting — and anything that gets deacons to laugh can’t be all bad — it seems to me that the book misses a far more valuable focus. There is a far greater need for a book entitled: 101 Things to Do While Preaching a Sermon.
Face it, anyone who has stood in a pulpit and looked out upon a hopelessly apathetic congregation may be wishing for some diversion to make the time seem more productive. As a public service, I’ve come up with several ideas — things to do while preaching a sermon one of those days.
– Count the Blue Heads. Looking out on the congregation, count all the blue-haired ladies, then do some quick multiplication to determine the total gallons of hair rinse needed to produce such an effect.
– Lighten Up. On a sunny day, wear cuff links that will catch the light coming through the stained glass windows. With the right gestures, you can create fascinating light shows against the back wall of the sanctuary. (For a real challenge, try bouncing those reflections off the shiny bald heads in the pews.)
– The Numbers Game. There are some folks who always take notes during the sermons — and they become especially active when you start enumerating lists or “points.” Try announcing “Number One …,” then make your point and move on to an entirely new list, again announcing “Number One …” You’ll enjoy seeing the puzzled looks on their faces as they try to figure out what points they missed. (Don’t worry: most folks don’t listen closely enough to realize anything unusual has taken place.)
– False Starts. Every preacher knows that as soon as he utters the words “And finally,” there are folks who begin gathering coats and other belongings, preparing to make a quick break for the cafeteria. Some Sunday, try saying “and finally” about five minutes into your sermon, then repeat it every three minutes thereafter. You’ll enjoy observing them pick up stuff, put down stuff, pick up stuff, put down stuff …
– Advance Planning. There’s nothing like preaching to a sea of bland expressions to make a preacher resolve to work harder on the next sermon. Who knows — taking this last suggestion to heart might very well eliminate the need for all those other activities!

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