SERMON: The Day That Changed Everything | Mick Veach

Title: “The Day that Changed Everything”

Link to Sermon Video:

Mich Veach HeadshotPreacher: Rev. Mick Veach is the senior pastor of Kentwood Community Church in Kentwood, Michigan.

Below are a few things we believe made Pastor Mick’s message a helpful one for preachers to learn from: 

Purposeful body movement—“Because of the resurrection, gone are the chains that held me down; we no longer have to live as we did.” Throughout the sermon, Veach returns to the physical prop (chains) to discuss the importance of freedom in Christ, and those things that hold us back. At the end of the sermon, when bringing the congregation to a response that includes a change of posture (kneeling), Veach changes his own posture, sitting down before the podium to “level” with those watching. These small changes are especially important when preaching entirely to video, as posture and facial expressions are more observable through the screen. Every movement on the platform—every Sunday, but especially on video—must be purposeful. Purposeless movement, pacing or wandering, distracts hearers from the message and gives them permission to tune out. Purposeful movement can help anchor hearers’ understanding of the sermon, giving context to the story and the response.

Pastoral in Crisis—“God calls us through people, through the Word, through Worship, through prayer, and through circumstances. In the middle of the coronavirus, He is calling.” The church’s response to the coronavirus pandemic will continue to be a turning point for future generations of church leadership; and while there are so many questions (some of which Veach explores) about where God is in this crisis, Veach ably guides his congregation to ask how God might be extending an invitation even in a time with so many uncertainties surrounding everyday life. By giving his congregation a lens through which to see how God might be speaking (all of which are accessible during quarantine, we might add), Veach helps his congregation be present to their circumstances, acknowledge their loss, and see God in the process.

Distilled key point—”He is risen, so it is possible to know today that He has a purpose for your life.” In his process of preparation, Veach has produced a sermon that orbits a central point, and one especially fitting for an Easter Sunday during a pandemic when much of life feels unmarked by purpose. For those discussing this sermon in online small groups later in the week, too, this central point offers a unifying theme to anchor discussion and application.

Virtual “Amen”—“Click on the heart to say ‘Amen.’” Veach is clearly the kind of preacher who enjoys active listeners during his sermon; the dialogue between pastor and congregation is (under normal circumstances) one of the primary joys of preaching. But under these circumstances where nobody can be in the room, Veach has still found a way to call for an “Amen,” in the form of online dialogue. This is good adaptability, and can be comforting to a congregation who enjoys seeing a call-response style of preaching from their pastor. Some chat forms become distracting during online sermons. Particularly during difficult or challenging sections of a sermon, listeners can not only break off into critical posting and stop listening, they distract others by their critiques and negative comments. When open chatting is allowed in a sermon, it almost always distracts the online listener eventually. A function like this allows interaction without undue distraction.

Faceted Response—”The third group of people today have been engaged with church, engaged with religion, and yet you have no relationship with Jesus.” Veach casts an appropriately broad net of response, with a specific call to people who might take different postures toward God. To help them respond in distinct ways, he offers them specific phrases to use in the “chat” online, and direct follow-up with individuals who have made decisions. Again, this is helpful ingenuity in discipleship at a time when traditional in-person follow up cannot happen.

Rev. Ethan Linder is the Pastor of Hospitality, Collegians, and Young Adults at College Wesleyan Church in Marion, Indiana, and the Contributing Editor at The Wesleyan Church’s Education and Clergy Development.