The sermon died, did anybody notice?

They say that we can't pay attention in church. They say our smart phones are more engaging than our sermons. They say we need to respond by using video, images, lighting, and fireworks when possible or the fickle masses will text their friend two seats down that they just updated their Facebook wall with a Tweet about their newest Flikr album because the sermon was boring. This is our answer pacifier:

I disagree. I've fallen asleep in churches like this and in churches where the only visual aid is the preacher's robe. I preached sermons that put people to sleep. People stop paying attention because the sermon stinks, not because their smart phones are more entertaining. It's that simple.

I recently watched a talk  that made me believe again in the possibility of the spoken word to grip the imagination of an audience. Sarah Kay's talk at the TED Conference received two standing ovations. She used one picture.

Her talk is the best sermon I've heard in the last 12 months. But what's more remarkable is that the TED Conference actually celebrates technology and subsequently attracts an audience toting shoulder bags bursting with wireless devices. Watch the eyes of the audience members in the video and tell me what's more engaging in that moment: the spoken word or their smart phones?

We don't need more videos, we need preachers to resurrect their dead sermons and breath some art into them.


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