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Sermons and Contemporary Media
Sermons preached in Adventist pulpits are less likely to include illustrations from contemporary media than are the messages heard in other congregations. Adventist pastors are more likely to report that they "seldom" use stories, anecdotes and references from contemporary music, television, books and movies and less likely to say they "always" or "often" use such items. 

This information comes from research done as part of the Faith Communities Today (FACT) survey.

This means that a pre-churched person, listening for the first time, is less likely to hear references from popular culture that they would easily recognize. It may mean that they find Adventist messages more difficult to understand or relate to.

Of course, this can be a problematic issue. Some church members (and pastors) place more value on separation from popular culture than they do on reaching contemporary, pre-churched audiences. They find illustrations from contemporary media to be inappropriate and would rather hear classic illustrations from the 19th century and earlier.

At the same time, many of the people that Christ has asked the church to reach out to (new generations, the pre-churched, inactive attenders, etc.) will not respond to messages that they consider out of date and out of touch with the world in which they live. Most of these people are not only steeped in contemporary, popular culture, but they are largely disconnected from the classic sources and manners of Protestant preaching. 

Discussion Questions:

1. How often does our pastor use illustrations from contemporary media in his or her sermons: every time, often, sometimes, seldom or never?

2. How do our members feel about the use of sermon illustrations from contemporary culture such as TV shows, pop music, pro sports, current fiction or cinema? How would they react to a sermon title such as "The Gospel According to the Simpsons"?

3. Which is the higher priority for the Sabbath sermons at our church, touching the hearts and minds of pre-churched people or encouraging our core members?

New FACT Information, Center for Creative Ministry