…is one of the most important times for someone who has paid attention and might think about changing some habit or belief in response. But, alas, I have heard the following closings to sermons:
- “That’s it. See you next week!”
- A prayer that reviews the sermon…..Amen….Guitar player gives some thoughts about the sermon, sometimes showing her was not listening….then starts a song.
- “Shake hands with three people on the way out!”
- “Let’s sing something — what shall we sing, Freddie?”
Years ago, many churches had a response song — often “Just As I Am” (as in a Billy Graham service)…..and some invited people to come to the front of the church room to show they wanted to “Accept Christ as Savior” or respond to “how God had spoken to them.”
Maybe in response to that, some went to the “alas” ways noted.
______Clearly a sermon is given to urge obedience and application to life.
______Clearly a pastor should think carefully about a response avenue.
______Consider the following:
Sermon (with practical obedience and application calls throughout) Prayer by sermon person
Not a review of the sermon to God, who does not need a review….
A brief prayer++ of worship and appreciation to God for the main truth given…then giving people a private quiet moment to thank God for that gift, or to ask His help to obey and apply it…..(Many will actually pray that way…)
Then a moment of quiet prayer introduced by, “If you are not sure of this connection with Christ as Lord and Savior, ask God for help to go that way, and to be sure….(Quiet moment)…. In the name of Jesus, Amen.
Then, to show the chosen response song is tied to the sermon, not a separate issue or a production number but a response-from-the-heart song, the speaker intros the song in two or three sentences….and asks, “Please stand” as short intro to song immediately starts…. And the speaker sings it also. Maybe even stays up front to sing along with the people, for he is responding also, and helping others to respond with thanks to God and obedient faith. This also positions the pastor-speaker to give a meaningful benediction or blessing from the Word of God to tie together the whole worship service, followed by a sentence of care or sendoff.
++(To remember: I have watched a lot of closing prayers on video and “playback” where the praying pastor is straightening his notes and closing his Bible or moving his lectern out of the way, causing me and other cynical viewers to wonder if he is really praying :-). Of course you can pray while you drive or do something, but this is about leading the church and viewers in worship and response.)
Seems like the closing
of the service should be carefully
thought through and purposeful.