To Post Sermon Titles or Not Post Sermon Titles…That Is The Question

Over on the UU Growth blog, there is a conversation going on as to whether churches should publish sermon titles and/or topics a month or more in advance.

I am firmly in the “do not publish” camp. And since I am in that camp, I’m going to point you to a few church websites…all non-UU…and the majority of them African American.

Saddleback Church (yes….that Saddleback)

Myers Park Baptist Church-Charlotte (figured I would point out a church in the city where GA is going to be in 2011)

Trinity UCC  (Barack’s old church…you know…the one with the black radical preacher 😉 )

Allen AME-NYC (if you know who Floyd Flake is…this is the church he pastors)

Windsor Village United Methodist-Houston (G.W. Bush’s friend Kirbyjon Caldwell pastors here)

Ray of Hope Christian Church-Atlanta (one of the largest churches in the Disciples denomination)

Now…of course…I’m pointing these churches out to you because they do not publish sermon titles (at least not on the internet) which I think proves my point…not publishing sermon titles does NOT create a barrier to visitors coming to church if they want to come to church. [And outside of Saddleback, how many of you had heard of any of these other churches? I am, of course, assuming that you’ve heard of Saddleback]

Of this group of churches, the smallest of them is Myers Park with an adult membership of about 1,900. So we’re talking about mega-churches in the really mega range. The reason I’m pointing you to these church websites is so that you’ll see something that I think it’s important to look at. As I said above, none of them publish sermon titles, but all of them devote space to the ministries of the church. And they are many my friends.

The other reason I point these churches out to you is to make this point…the reason churches grow is because they offer something for EVERYONE…not just the family that is looking to give religious education to their children. This is why ministries are important. If you aren’t offering something to the 32-year-old single and the 65-year-old couple and the 18-year-old high school and/or college student and the 40-something family then they are going to go look for the church that does offer them something. And when they find the church that does offer something for EVERYBODY, they will tell their friends. And those friends will come and experience it…and tell their friends. And the cycle will continue.

So…if UUs are serious about growth…let me give a small suggestion. Don’t publish sermon titles…publish the works of your Men’s Ministry or Women’s Ministry or Single’s Ministry or Young Adult Ministry or Music Ministry or Addictions Recovery Ministry or Grief Support Ministry or Caring Ministry etc. etc. etc.  

oops…sorry…got ahead of myself. You actually have to HAVE ministries before you can talk about them. that’s another post.

5 thoughts on “To Post Sermon Titles or Not Post Sermon Titles…That Is The Question

  1. My favorite UU minister would publish her sermon titles, but made them cryptic because she didn’t want people to not show when she was preaching about something they didn’t want to hear about. At my current church, the tradition is to publish the title and a few sentences of description of the sermon. I like it, but I see my former minister’s point in that sometimes I see a topic and think “meh…”

    I see your point about publishing the work of those ministries though we don’t use that word or even most of those divisions. The sad thing is, assuming Myers Park’s website accurately represents what they do, my church does more mission work than Myers Park, we just advertise it pretty poorly.

    who had heard of Myers Park because her mother in law goes there, and had heard of Trinity, FWIW.

  2. Of course, to publish sermon topics means that you must have your sermon either written or outlined by Tuesday or Wednesday – so no “go where the spirit takes one” sermon. None of this mentions your main major point though….

  3. Pingback: Blogs on Chalica, kids and gender, and saving up for therapy « : The Interdependent Web

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