Church-goers still love a good sermon, as long as the preacher stresses content over comedy, a survey of 1800 church-goers has discovered.
Almost nine out of 10 (88 per cent) disagree or strongly disagree that the idea of a sermon being preached in church each week is outdated.
But when asked what they wanted to see most in a sermon, men in particular (49 per cent) most wanted to hear biblical exposition (women 39 per cent). Women wanted to hear even more practical application (44 per cent) than men (36 per cent). A sense of humour is only perceived as important by two per cent and personal anecdotes by one per cent.
The age of the rambling sermon is over, too. The most common sermon lasts between 10 and 20 minutes (44 per cent). Only 15 per cent of sermons last more than 30 minutes and only one in 10 think a sermon should last any longer than that.
‘Christians are hungry to think about their faith and how it relates to life in the 21st Century,’ said Krish Kandiah, president of the London School of Theology. ‘Far from being an outdated concept, in good preaching we hear how the never changing good news about Jesus relates to our ever-changing culture. Despite the militant atheist caricature that Christians are people who believe but don’t think, the survey shows that Christians believe because they think. Christians are keen to grapple with the deep truths of the faith not just be entertained on a Sunday.’