O sleep, where is thy sting? Oh! I forgot, it’s in the church, where else than the house of God? Just the perfect place to sting people. You see, sleep is a virtue, it is even a disease for you not to be able to sleep, yes, and it’s called ‘Insomnia’ but even insomnia patients are automatically healed once it’s time for sermon in church. Isn’t that a miracle? Ok, now, jokes apart, but wait, this is supposed to be a joke right? Ok, seriously, for the record, this might be funny, that’s if you have a sense of humor, but it isn’t funny at all; this is the real deal and it’s a problem that needs serious attention. Sleeping in the house of God is even a greater disease, I call it “…” It’s worse than insomnia, because the words that you would have heard, if you weren’t dozing during service, would probably have saved you from the disease.
Generation of Dozers
It is often said that there is nothing new under the sun, well, people didn’t just start dozing off during church services today, they’ve been dozing since the days of old. I was reading the book of Acts one day and I came across a very funny story, I then confirmed that there was really nothing new under the sun, people really have been dozing due to the same factors that make people doze in the church today. Let us go to the book of Acts 20:7-9 and enjoy this this funny story:
“And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight. And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together. And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead.”
In the light of this discovery, I am of the opinion that people are not actually dozing up to expectations. Anyways, like I said earlier, dozing in church is a disease, and it is one of the reasons why many Christians are not living up to expectations today. They don’t personally have time for God, they don’t have personal Bible studies and the only chance they have (church service), they doze it away. The devil has used this medium to keep a lot of people in ignorance and destroy them. We just saw a man dying all as a result of dozing off during service, I can just imagine what the scene would have looked like. It probably would have been funny initially, somebody falling off a window because of sleep during a sermon, but then, reality would have immediately dawned on them seeing that he actually fell to his death from the third floor of the building. Well, thank God Paul brought him back to life (Acts 20: 10-12). So if you are one of those super dozers, don’t worry, you are not alone, people have been dozing before you, and have even given their lives for it; but I am not here just to make gest of dozers, but to make recommendations and proffer solutions.
I must confess, in my earlier years, there were some particular churches I loved so much, just because their services were conducive for sleeping, there messages were always too long, boring and usually without bearing. I would go specifically when it was almost time for the sermon, assume my position and doze off. The only annoying thing was the ushers, just when you are about to board a plane to the UK, they just tap you, very, very annoying! I don’t want to mention any names, lest some people turned these places into guest houses, like many have already done. In my childhood church then, we had special spots where we sat down, just beside the pillars, a fortress against the preacher and the ushers. Once it was time for the sermon, we would assume our positions and doze off. Argh! But there was this usher who just kept doing over-sabi (I too know=ITK), she would just come with her long cane (Yes! Long cane) and poach you. All this was because the sermons were always too long, boring and usually without bearing. When I later became an usher, and that woman stepped down, I made sure I watched out for her whenever she dozed off and poached the sleep out of her, it was fun though.
Oh dear, I can never forget one of my fellowship members who dozed so deep that I started pleading the blood of Jesus on his behalf. We went for a deliverance programme, where we had to fast for three days without food and water, what they were delivering us from, I don’t know. On the second day, we convened at the deliverance ground and on our empty stomachs, these people were still preaching. This guy, like many others started to doze off uncontrollably. I, on the other hand, was kept awake from laughing at them. Before I knew it, he had gone. He dozed so deep, sitting straight, his neck started to fall wherever it pleased, carrying his head along. His neck fell so deep behind, that out of fear, I shouted “Jesus!” I thought his head was going to fall off, so I quickly stretched out my hands to catch it, in case it fell off.
To be cured of this disease, I actually had to join the ushering unit, I became an usher. Oh dear, it was always a sorry sight. There were some people that were so adorable when they dozed off that I had compassion on them and left them alone, but then the Spirit would trouble me to wake them up, that they were dozing their lives away. In all these scenarios, there is always an entry point for the devil to come in through sleep and this is what we would be discussing below.
Factors Affecting Dozing in Churches
1. People who doze off during church service, sermon to be precise, are not totally guilty, even though they are the ones who stand to lose. In the passage earlier cited above, we would notice a major factor that was specifically stressed there, which was the long hours of preaching.
The Bible says that Paul preached until midnight, it was stressed that the man sunk deep in sleep because Paul had been preaching for a long time. When a sermon is not properly coordinated and getting too long, people will lose concentration and mostly doze off. I respect men of God like Dr. D. K. Olukoya, Bishop David Oyedepo, Pastor Poju Oyemade, Pastor Sam Adeyemi, etc., because of their time consciousness and coordination while preaching. During WAFBEC (West African Faith Believers’ Convention) 2013, Bishop Oyedepo preached his message for a maximum of forty minutes, I was amazed. Dr. Olukoya is also one very time conscious and coordinated person when it comes to preaching and I respect him for that. His messages are always properly outlined, on point and coordinated. All the other names mentioned above are also very time conscious and coordinated people. The reason is that we live in the last days now, where people have itchy ears and the devil is out to deceive and destroy many.
2. Another factor is the people themselves; the condition of a man’s heart goes a long way in determining his attitude in life. If a person has a biased mind already, he would not be ready to receive anything new or different, as a result, anything that is said would not necessarily make sense to him/her. Also, the activities of the individual before the day of the service are also a major factor. If you go to the club on Saturday night, then drink and dance your way into Sunday morning, what in God’s name would you be going to church to do, except from sleeping. Again, if you over worked yourself and didn’t have enough sleep, you will tend to doze off during the sermon.
3. Lastly, the devil is the greatest enemy of man next to himself. The devil will do anything possible to distract a Christian and draw him away from the truth. All these factors and many more, are just entry points of the devil. It is not normal for you to just start feeling sleepy whenever it’s time for the message, or when the message is going on. At least, we spend hours watching TV, chatting, pinging, etc. This is because the devil doesn’t want you to know the truth, especially when you don’t have time for personal Bible study and communion with God.
Summary and Recommendations
Messages must first of all be properly outlined and coordinated to get the attention and concentration of the congregation. There are some topics that demand hours of preaching, but when they are properly outlined and coordinated, till the last second, the people would be conscious and attentive. If a movie is very long, yet uninteresting, the viewers would probably leave or sleep off, but if it is interesting and meaningful, the viewers wouldn’t even realize that hours have gone by. The same applies in the sermons. We are in delicate times; we are no longer in times of old, when there was really nothing catchy and no serious temptations like we have today. Today, the spiritual attention and consciousness of people are constantly drawn away from God, we as preachers must learn to understand the times and move with the flow.
Finally, we are running an individualistic race, we would all answer individually to God, so we can’t blame our ignorance on the preacher because he talks out of point or he takes too much time. If a message is constantly boring and without bearing, and you know you aren’t gaining anything, then I think you should start looking for alternatives. That is why we were told to look unto Jesus, who is the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).
Well, it all started off like a joke, but like I said, it might be funny, but it’s not funny at all.
Cheers and God bless you infinitely!!!
© 2013 Godsplan Uzoaga.