Someone once told the story about a minister who preached an unusual sermon one day, and used a peanut to illustrate several things from the Bible. One of the members greeted him at the close of the service and said, “That was very interesting, Pastor. I never expected to learn so much from a nut!”
Sometimes using a prop — even a peanut! — can help us be more effective in our preaching.
So you can preach on the same subject more than once.
I know some preachers might think I’m a nut to suggest it could be wise to preach on some topics more than once considering there are a vast number of things to preach on, but here are just six reasons for you to preach on the same subject multiple times.
1. We forget what was preached. Even if you leave your church building on a Sunday morning saying to yourself, “That was a great sermon!” by the following Sunday you won’t recall much of it. The human brain is fascinating, but with the constant flood of information it receives, the brain selects only so much for long-term memory. One study, exploring how adults learn best, claims that we remember about only five percent of what we learn through lecture format.
So why do we need to preach on some biblical subjects more than once? We forget, and need to be reminded.
Keep in mind that a central reason we observe Communion is to remember that Jesus gave His body, and shed His blood, on our behalf for the forgiveness of sins. You would think we wouldn’t forget that, but it often is not every day that the average Christian actually brings to mind that specific sacrifice Jesus made for us.
Because we are so forgetful, some biblical topics need to be preached about more than once.
2. We don’t master the lesson the first hearing. Hearing something for the first time usually doesn’t result in mastery of that topic. We’ll need to hear it again, and more about it, to begin to have full comprehension of a topic. For that reason, some biblical topics need to preached more than once.
3. There are multi facets to a single topic. Some preachers try to cram everything there is to say about a topic in a single sermon, often resulting in not handling many of the points well. Many biblical topics have multiple facets to them which can require the need for more than one sermon to adequately and fully cover a topic. For that reason, some topics need to be preached more than once.
4. To go deeper than an introduction. Sometimes a topic needs an entire sermon just to effectively introduce the subject to your congregation. You’ll then need to preach additional sermons on the same topic to deal with some of the finer points of the same subject.
5. Your audience changes over the years. Your church audience is likely in a state of ongoing change — adding new members, some members moving away, etc. As your audience changes, they won’t all have heard some of the sermons you’ll want them to hear. Preach the topics again!
6. It’s that important! There are some things – like the Gospel – that we need to hear over and over and over again. We need to start every day of our lives hearing that our sin had separated us from God, but God, in His love for us, sent His Son, Jesus, who died on the cross to redeem us from sin, and defeated sin’s consequence of death so that now we who surrender our lives to Him are new creatures! We go out into the world each day as those new creatures, created in Christ Jesus, and appointed as His ambassadors to the world … If we walked out the front door to go to work, or school, or anywhere else each day with that Good News fresh in our minds, we might live differently!
Some biblical topics are so important that we need to hear them preached again, and again, and again!
Let me say to my fellow preachers, don’t feel pressured to always preach on a new topic every time you get behind the pulpit. Know there are several things your congregation needs to hear again, perhaps in a deeper, wider, different approach than the first time you preached it, but they need to hear about that topic again nevertheless. Keep preaching on these things until your congregation begins to mature in the Word about those things.
This article originally appeared here.