At our church people are encouraged to download a sermon if they happened to miss a week. I think this is a great way for people to stay connected to the preaching of a church even if they can’t make it into church. Sometimes, though, I feel like a sermon podcast might turn into the ultimate excuse for missing church.
Why should I gather at church when I can simply download the sermon and listen to it at my earliest convenience? It takes so much effort to go to church on Sunday morning, waking up on my weekend, just to go and get practically the same experience I can now get through iTunes.
Besides, I don’t really like singing all that much and I really only get something out of the sermon. If I could have church without anything else and just the sermon, well then that would be the church for me. This podcasting thing makes that dream a reality. Instead of having to put up with all of the parts I don’t like, I can simply get what I want, listen to it when it’s good for me and not have to miss any football on Sunday morning.
I understand that it’s important to gather together, I really do, but in this hectic life of mine I can’t be expected to always show up on a Sunday and spend time with people. I’m around people all week at work and, by the time Sunday comes around, I just need a little me time. Now I can have the best of both worlds: I can have some time with myself and learn about God through the sermon. The sermon is the most important part of the service anyway, right? Now I can have that and work it into my busy schedule.
The bride of Christ isn’t found on an iPod. In my Baptist tradition, the sermon has become the central focus for the worship service; the sermon is the reason we all gather together. So if people can have the sermon without everything else, it’s just as good if not better and more efficient. There’s more to gathering together, though, than just listening to God’s word.
We’re called to worship God, encourage each other and draw together at the Lord’s Table. There is so much more to church than just the sermon. We miss out on so much when we replace gathering together with the quiet solitude of a pair of earbuds. God created us to be in relationship and the body of Christ really only works when it comes together.
So if you have to miss church this weekend to prepare for your Super Bowl party, download the sermon and hear what you missed. We need to remember, though, that there are some things we miss that can’t be found in a podcast.
What sermon podcasts do you subscribe to and what benefits have you seen?