The recent hot weather reminds me of how thoughtful we should be when we are preaching. What I am thinking of are the times when the weather is hot, there is no air-conditioning, the room is stuffy, there are young children in the congregation and they are all there listening to the preacher (which may be you or me). Social decorum dictates that people will not cry out and ask you to shut up. But surely we preachers need to be sensitive to this situation.
What are the sensitivities we need to have:
- After a while as the congregations’ concentration starts to fade. Everybody is different, in terms of concentration endurance. However, when most people have passed the “use-by” date of their concentration you are achieving very little by just going on and on. After a while very little is being taken in.
- I can think of two occasions in the last year or so when I have just been in deep sympathy for the little children having to endure this. Now perhaps because I have children I have a particular sensitivity to this. But I really did feel that the preachers should have been aware of the situation. For the preacher not to be sensitive to this, is to give those children bad remembrances of enduring, what to them were, experiences of listening to someone drone on about something they could not comprehend.
- Being the preacher is a unique experience and in preaching you can just be caught up in what you have got to say. Such may be through the prompting / leading of the Spirit. But it may also be due to pure lack of sensitivity to the experience of others. In such a context it needs to be remembered that “the fruit of the Spirit is love” (Gal. 5:22a).
Oh Lord help me to be thoughtful in these things.