Why Nobody is Applying Your Sermons

I’ll never forget how defeated I felt when I had just finished a sermon series on healthy relationships. The final sermon in the series was on Matthew 18 and how Jesus wants us to handle conflict. By Tuesday of that week, there were core people gossiping about each other, complaining about people instead of talking to people and acting like a bunch of lost pagans without Jesus. I know conflict is going to happen and that relationships are difficult.However, I just preached FOUR WEEKS on how to have healthy relationships.” What in the world!?

If you can relate to that story then today’s post is for you. We need good preaching, but if people do not apply what we preach then what’s the point of preaching? Are you ready for this?

The number one reason people don’t apply your sermons is because of a lack of systems. Click To Tweet

Don’t dismiss this. Keep reading…

Think about the last sermon you heard — not the last one you preached. What did you do with it? That’s a different question than, “Do you remember it?” It’s also a different question than “Did you like it?” Chances are, just like your congregation, you listened to the sermon, enjoyed it, thought about it once or twice, then moved on with your life. You didn’t mean to — it’s just natural. Same with your people.

Chris Sonksen says, “Sermons inspire, but systems change behaviors.” A system is a set of principles and procedures that determine how something is accomplished. So if you want your church to give more it will take more than a sermon series on giving — it takes a system. It takes a plan to accomplish the goal of the sermon. If you want people to join small groups, it will take more than a sermon. It takes a system. If you want people to find spiritual freedom and let go of sinful habits, it will take more than a sermon. Sermons fire us up and inspire us, but the truth is we are forgetful people.

Have you ever said you’d start a diet on Monday only to bail on what you said because diets “stinketh” — that’s King James English. You know it’s bad if it’s from the King James… just kidding!

The point is as pastors we often think our job is done once we preach a sermon. However, the sermon is the beginning not the end of spiritual growth. You care about your people. And because you care you have to push past thinking that a sermon is enough. God uses systems. This doesn’t mean sermons are less important. They are vital! Just don’t miss the system to help people apply the sermon. Systems are how you accomplish the what. Systems deliver the vision. Systems help change behaviors.

Life change happens form what you do consistently and not occasionally. Once the inspiration from the sermon fades God uses a system to implement change.

As much as you can point people to their next step. How can your people live out what you are teaching? Is it by joining a small group, volunteering, taking a class, starting a Bible reading plan etc. Think through how someone can apply your sermon and it will help people experience life change. Sermons inspire, but systems change behaviors.

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