When does a sermon begin? After the public reading of the Scripture? After the prayer? After a really cool solo?
It’s actually the wrong question.
The better question is where does the sermon begin? Not when, but where.
There is an easy answer to that question: in the parking lot.
See, the entire Sunday morning experience is the sermon.
That means good manners on the part of people helping with parking.
It means a welcome in the lobby that is friendly without being intrusive.
It means smiles and accuracy at the Guest Services Desk.
It means a printed bulletin that is well-designed and communicates what the church is about and what the Sunday message is about.
It means music, graphics, and visuals that all complement the day’s big idea.
It means a spoken message that is simply the continuation and culmination of an experience that began an hour or so earlier.
It means that the conversation started by the experience will continue in the parking lot. And beyond.
See what I mean as we wrap up Still this Sunday with a service that includes a Good Shepherd original song, a message called “Goodness & Mercy”, and an experience that starts before you walk in the door. 8:30. 10:00. 11:30.