"I was taught in seminary that I was unworthy to stand behind the pulpit unless I studied the scripture in the Greek for at least forty hours a week! I remember hearing that and raising my hand, saying, “Excuse me, doctor, I work as a house painter about thirty to forty hours a week. So if I add another forty hours for sermon prep, it doesn’t seem to leave much room for . . . well . . . anything!” He replied, “Well, son, maybe you’re not called to lead a church.” Because of my naivety and because I believed him about the importance of the sermon, I did both. On our first church plant, I averaged 100 hours of “work” a week, and my wife didn’t like me, my kids thought I was always cranky, and I was withering away into a shell of who I was. But I was championing the cause of “good news”! What a farce!
The reality of adult learning is that the average adult listening to us only retains about five to ten percent of the content we’ve worked so hard to prepare, and by the time they unload the kids at McDonalds an hour after church, they’ve pretty much forgotten most of what we said. And yet, week after week, we make mammon of our time, thinking that the sermon is the center of disciple-making. But it’s not even close! Adults learn primarily through sensory experience, not cognitive downloads, and the acceptance of this fact should unhinge us from this weekly grind that bears so little fruit. Look, I’m a Bible guy and believe in the power that lies within every syllable. I also believe that we should handle the word of God correctly and make sure we deliver our teaching with accuracy and skill. But I also believe a sermon should be considered one of the ways we teach, not the only way. Understanding this will not only help you focus your time on other disciplines and experiences that will grow disciples, but it will also allow you to find a better balance for your own life..... Spiritual authority no longer comes through our proficiency. It comes through our lives. People follow people because they respect how we live, not because of what we say."
~ Hugh Halter. BiVo