Most viral videos share at least two things in common: “discussability” and “relatability.” So says Video CEO Analyst Brian Shin in Here’s why these 6 videos went viral.
“Discussable” means that it contains something shocking or surprising, which compels viewers to share it with others.
“Relatable” means that it has a deeply human element which we connect with emotionally and want to share with others.
As you read on, “simplicity” also emerges as an important factor; viral videos have a clear structure that’s easy to follow and remember.
That sounds like some helpful criteria for a sermon doesn’t it: ”Discussable,” “relatable,” and “simple.”
Do our sermons prompt discussion? There’s nothing more surprising or shocking than grace! So why do most sermons send people to sleep? Perhaps we’re not preaching grace. Or maybe our sermons answer too many questions, producing passive listeners. Why not pose more questions, leave them unanswered, and challenge hearers to seek their own answers from the Word and from one another?
Do they connect with the heart? Many sermons are not “earthed.” They float above hearers’ intellectual level, or they just don’t sound like “real life.” They may be full of theology, logic, and argumentation, but the emotions remain refrigerated.
Are they as simple in content and structure as possible? I’ve written on this before in A plea for profound simplicity. The most important book I’ve ever read for sermon preparation was William Zinser’s On Writing Well, especially pages 7-23. In fact if I had the choice of choosing two pages from any book, that I wanted every preacher to read it would be pages 10-11 in Zinser’s book where he takes the knife to a manuscript!
“Discussable,” “relatable,” and “simple.”
And who knows, with God’s blessing, maybe “viral” too!