The Irrelevant Celebration

It is pretty rampant. It steals the point from the people’s minds and reinforces the same tired point that you have preached every week. It gets the people to shout, but doesn’t help them live during the week. It kills the creativity of the preacher and pushes the people to ignore the rest of your sermon. What am I talking about? It is the “IRRELEVANT CELEBRATION!”

What is Irrelevant Celebration

What is the irrelevant celebration. It is a celebration that has nothing to do with the point of your sermon. The irrelevant celebration removes from the minds of your people what you just preached. You worked hard on the sermon. You put forth effort into it. But the celebration is so powerful that folks will remember that above everything else. So if you celebrate your main point. All is well, but if you have a small number of tired recitations that is all the people will remember. Don’t preach a masterpiece about the sermon on the mount and someone leaves thinking you simply preached about what you always preach about, “Didn’t God put food on the table…Didn’t God pay your rent…etc…”

What Irrelevant Celebration Does To the Preacher and the Congregation

The irrelevant celebration stifles the creativity of the preacher because the preacher, instead of coming up with a fresh celebration that is in line with an exegesis of the congregation, scripture, and your sermon, the preacher simply pulls out a “stock” celebration that has nothing to do with any of that, but the preacher simply knows that it will cause a rise out of the congregation.

The irrelevant celebration pushes the people to ignore the rest of the sermon because celebration is like the desert. If the desert has nothing to do with the meal, then why should the people even listen. You have seen such sermons. You look at the congregation, and they have obviously checked out, until the celebration, when they check back in. And why not, the people are not rewarded with a deeper appreciation of the truths in your message by a relevant celebration. They are not rewarded for struggling with the concepts that you have just presented, with a celebration related to those concepts….So they are pushed to ignore your sermon.

Prepare Your People

And worst of all, the irrelevant celebration gives the people a false belief that they are ready to confront the coming week with help from God as given to them in your sermon. Instead, they only have a trite phrase that you say every week. The irrelevant celebration may be rampant, but it is by no means the only way to preach. I would encourage you, this next week, to celebrate. Go on head and celebrate. But leave the stock phrases aside unless they are relevant to your sermon. Go on head and preach….and then celebrate….But make sure that it is a celebration that is relevant to your sermon.

Comments

comments

Sherman Haywood Cox II is the director of Soul Preaching. He holds the M.Div with an emphasis in Homiletics and a M.S. in Computer Science.

Posted in blog, Feature Articles, Preaching
4 comments on “The Irrelevant Celebration
  1. Dr. Baines says:

    Cox,
    Thank you for such a relevant post. Sometimes we get into bad habits.

  2. Rev. Anthony says:

    This is prime preaching stuff. It will help the people, but make enemies of many preachers in our circles. It has become a sad reality that preaching in some arenas has eroded into isogetical, groundless preacherbabble in some houses of God. HE is listening and he will ask for an account. I pray that we can do more than hang our heads.

  3. TimothyW says:

    Frank A. Thomas’ book “They Never Like To Quit Praisin God” is excellent, and really educated me on celebration. A great read for understand how to make the celebration/close relevant to the whole sermon.

  4. Sherman Haywood Cox II says:

    Yes…the irrelevant celebration is one of the biggest sins of the Black pulpit. Thomas and Henry Mitchell’s work both seek to push us past this mistake to better preaching…

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Revised Common Lectionary
Proper 14 (February 26, 2017)
  • OT: Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28
  • Psalm: Psalm 105: 1-6, 16-22, 45b
  • Epistle: Romans 10:5-15
  • Gospel: Matthew 14:22-33
Af Am Heritage Lectionary
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