It’s one of those things preachers say.
“If you’re here today, and you haven’t obeyed the gospel ….”
“If you’re here today, and need the prayers of the church ….”
“If you’re here today, and you wish you weren’t ….”
Okay, I’ve never actually heard a preacher say the last one – but I’ve heard a hundred or more variations of the first two, even from preachers who are really good and who ought to know what they’re doing.
“If you’re here today”? In the days before recording sermons on cassette and then CD and then MP3 for podcasting, who was a preacher talking to when saying that? The folks who were there, of course. They already knew they were there. And if they weren’t there, they weren’t listening. So why say it?
And it’s always a hanging “if,” even today. If you’re not here today, what do you do? Forget it? Sit there and feel suicidal? Shake it off and try to do better next time?
Well, that’s my advice for preachers: ditch the phrase “If you’re here today.” Trust me. We are.
And if we aren’t, and we’re still listening, it’s because we wanted to be there that day and ordered the cassette or the CD, or downloaded the MP3.
It’s not world-class advice like the stuff at Milton Stanley’s outstanding Transforming Sermons, but maybe it’ll make a couple of you out there re-think the standard closer phrasing a bit.
That is, if you’re here today ….