Pastor, what if there was a way to triple the number of people in your church who:
read the Bible each morning…
pray daily for the church and its mission…
remember and apply what they hear during your sermons…
…without adding a ton of work to your already busy schedule?
Interested? I thought so.
There is a way. It’s a method as old as the church itself, recorded in Acts 2:46:
“Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts.”
The early believers didn’t rely on a once-a-week sermon. They sat under the apostles’ teaching daily. As a result, the church exploded.
Now, thanks to modern technology, you can teach your people every day—without them having to physically gather.
However, it will require a shift in how you distribute your preaching and teaching.
The Limitations of the ’40-Minute Brain Dump’
Seminary taught you to pack all your teaching into a single weekly sermon. I sometimes call this the “40-minute brain dump.”
But a growing body of evidence suggests that lengthy monologue lectures are the worst way to teach for retention. Indeed, the average churchgoer forgets most of the sermon by the time he reaches the church parking lot. As I’ve often said:
It takes 20 hours to prepare a sermon — and 20 minutes for people to forget it.
Experts are realizing that shorter messages, reinforced through repetition seem to have greater sticking power. This was Jesus’ preferred teaching method. He told short, memorable stories and repeated them over and over. Repetition leads to retention.
How To Create and Distribute Daily Devotions
Try this strategy:
Cut your sermon length by ten minutes.
Take the content you didn’t preach on Sunday and:
Craft it into a series of four or five-morning devotions, complete with a Bible reading, a meditation, application steps, and suggestions for prayer.
Each devotion should review and reinforce one of the main points you made in your sermon.
These can be video devotions or simple text.
Distribute your devotions electronically at about 2 a.m. each morning.
You don’t have to stay up all night. Automate the release time on social media, the church’s blog and the church app (if you have one).
At the same time, send out notifications via e-mail, text message, and your church’s smartphone app.
Train your parishioners to check their e-mail and read the devotion first thing in the morning—before they turn on the TV or read anything else.
Boom! You’ve fed your flock every morning.
Before You Go Down This Road…
Now, before you walk down this path, here are four things to consider…
You have to promote your devotions every week from the pulpit. Explain to people: It’s essential that you start every day with God’s word, prayer and a reminder of what you learn here on Sunday. Make it easy for people to sign up by putting a QR code on the screen that allows them to download your app, sign up for emails, etc.
If you’re the type of guy who writes his sermons on Saturday night, this is not for you. Writing and preparing devotions requires you to think ahead, plan ahead and work ahead. Ideally you should have all the devotional material written and queued before you preach on Sunday. You don’t want to be writing Monday’s devotion on Sunday evening.
You have to be committed. Once you open this communication channel, you have to maintain it. You wouldn’t just decide not to preach some Sunday because you were too busy or tired. Nor can you flake out and choose not to feed your flock for a couple of days. People are going to expect their daily devotion.
Once your flock gets used to reading a daily devotion from you, you’ll have opened a valuable communication channel you can use for a variety of other purposes. You can send out urgent prayer requests. You can ask for volunteers. You can publicize upcoming events and opportunities at the church. In short, these daily emails can become a platform that drives church involvement as well as personal spiritual growth.
This article originally appeared here and is used by permission.