Sunday, 12 August 2012

Although You Cannot Download Fellowship

One thing I have noticed when surfing is that now oodles of churches put their sermons in downloadable, audible, format. I am old enough to remember when you would have to order a sermon on cassette tape if you wanted to listen to it again.

I can see the benefits of this. You get a range of topics, and can get a range of opinions on the same topic, which can be useful for research. I guess if you're preaching on a topic, you can see what others have said, and if you're lucky get some anecdotes (I have this image in my mind that up and down the country this morning, preachers were giving sermons of how it doesn't matter how strong your belief is if it's wrong, and saying "And recently we went to the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff and my ticket wouldn't scan....")

OK- hands up. Has anyone ever used in a sermon an anecdote that happened to someone else and said it happened to themselves?

One danger is that we could end up, with such a smorgasboard of sermons, just concentrate on the bits we like, and assume things like "Leviticus? Nah. Booor-ing!" or "A sermon on pride? I don't have a problem with that. What else is there to listen to?" like someone channel-hopping on digital TV.

I would suggest if you choose to listen to a church's sermons, listen to them. Pick a particular service and decide you will download all the ones for that and listen to them. Don't do sermon-hopping.

Another danger is that we can hear sermons from elsewhere, maybe from high-profile churches, and then compare with our own. But you cannot download fellowship from a church over the internet- you cannot even download the coffee.

There is the saying that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. But the Good Shepherd of the flock has put us on this particular patch of grass- don't dream of what it'll be like elsewhere just because you hear sermons from there. Like thinking that Songs of Praise is a substitute for church, there is the danger that downloaded sermons can be seen as a substitute to regular attendance at church.

One question- and that is up to the individual to decide on- is when to listen? Have specific days for each? Listen to a series on a weekly basis, or wait till listen to a series in one go?

So, which church's downloaded sermons do you like to listen to? And why?

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