I ride the bus to church every Sunday and absolutely love it. As strange as it may sound, it’s become a small but significant part of my sermon prep. Those ten minutes on the bus remind me of my goal for the morning: to show people how the eternal truths of God’s Word transform our day to day lives in such a way that we are inspired to worship Jesus.
A sermon is so much more than a Bible study. It can’t ever be less but it should be so much more. The call of the preacher isn’t simply to present accurate information about the Bible or God. It’s not enough to say, “here’s what this passage means.” Don’t get me wrong (or call me a heretic), that foundation is indispensable.
But as preachers we must build two more layers on that foundation: application and worship. Show people how the glorious truths of the Bible cause them to live with more joy on a Monday afternoon. Show people how the gospel gives hope even when hospice has been called. Show people how Jesus wants to use them in His plan to redeem and restore the world while they work as a cashier in a retail store. And do it all in a way that makes Jesus, not us, the center and hero of the story. The goal of a sermon isn’t life management tips. It’s worship. It’s people walking out so enthralled by Jesus, the simple beauty of the gospel and the hope we have that everything changes for them.
So, I love my friends on the bus. They’re often tired, coming off the night shift or heading in to work the weekend. Sometimes they’re headed to the airport. Sometimes they’re brimming with hope but oftentimes they’re in need of hope. They’re living life to the best of their ability. Probably not doing as well as they would like or as bad as they fear. And Jesus has something for each of them.
The great privilege of a preacher is connecting God’s Word to our world.