Why do we Preach to People With Really Bad Memories?

Studies show that we will forget about 40% within the first 24 hours of learning something. If we wait another 24 hours before reviewing the information, we lose about 60% of it.  So if we were taking a test we could go from a grade of ‘A’ (100%) to ‘D’ (60%), to ‘F’ (40%) in just 48 hours. Now…. imagine how much the people you are preaching to might be forgetting? Kinda sucks right? Yeah it does. So if people forget 60% of what you say within two days, and a lot more by the end of the week, then why do we keep preaching? That’s the question that Brad Wheeler asks over at the 9Marks blog:

What good do all those sermons do, if we proceed to forget most of what we heard shortly thereafter? Well, we don’t forget everything we hear. I trust most of us can remember sermons that challenged how we thought about God, marriage, money, etc.—and we were forever changed. So let’s not write off the whole enterprise.

But beyond that, the weekly word in our morning messages is only meant to get us to next Sunday! In God’s weekly rhythm, he seems to grasp that come Sunday, we’re famished, and we need to be filled yet again.

My sermons, your sermons, they don’t have to remain with our people throughout eternity. It’s not meant to change their lives in that sense. They’re meant to sustain them until next week. One week at a time. Until heaven. And there, the word made flesh will dwell with us forever, and the need for sermons will be no more.


Published by cwoznicki

Chris Woznicki is an Assistant Adjunct Professor of Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary. He works as the regional training associate for the Los Angeles region of Young Life.

2 thoughts on “Why do we Preach to People With Really Bad Memories?

  1. Pingback: From guestwriters

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